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Darien board forgoes vote on police chief

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ANN MARIE AMES
February 17, 2009
— The Darien Village Board on Monday night did not vote on the fate of their suspended police chief, despite the plans of two board members.

Board members Craig McCue and Allen Kenyon had placed an item on the agenda regarding the re-instatement of Chief Steve DeVoy. They had planned to make a motion to bring the chief back to work, McCue said.


DeVoy was suspended with pay Dec. 1 after village employees found surveillance cameras in the police department lobby and in DeVoy's office.


On Monday night, board President Bob Metzner said the item was a personnel matter and could be discussed only in closed session.


"It cannot be acted upon," Metzner said.


When Kenyon asked when action would happen, Metzner said the board would talk about the chief's suspension at a special closed session meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25.


At that meeting, the board will discuss matters involving several officers, the chief and some citizens, Metzner said.


McCue, Kenyon and many citizens appeared anxious to get the matter of the chief's suspension wrapped up.


The tension that's been ongoing at village board meetings was apparent again Monday night when McCue stood up mid-meeting and accused Metzner of trying to pass by the re-instatement item on the agenda.


Metzner asked McCue to sit down, and McCue refused, a common occurrence for both men at board meetings.


Several residents appeared frustrated that they weren't given the chance to talk during the public comments portion of the meeting, also a common occurrence.


One resident did speak. When she was through, Metzner said that since no other residents had signed up, he would move on to the rest of the agenda.


Many residents grumbled about a posted notice that outlined the rules for speaking to the board. The notice did not mention a sign up sheet.


Since January, Metzner, when asked, has told residents and members of the media that information about the chief's suspension would be coming soon. Information could come to light when village attorneys finish an ongoing investigation of the cameras and an associated computer.


A Jan. 19 letter to the village from Hazelbaker & Associates law office of Madison, the law firm hired by the village, indicates the investigation would be done in January.


The attorneys anticipated reporting to village Administrator Marc Dennison by mid-February, the letter states.


That hasn't happened yet.


The Janesville Gazette has made a request through Wisconsin's Open Records Law to get copies of the investigation and related documents.


Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss has been reviewing reports of a sheriff's office investigation of the situation to determine if any crimes were committed.


The Walworth County Sheriff's Office installed the video surveillance cameras in the Darien Police Department at DeVoy's request, Koss said.


McCue and Kenyon are running for re-election as is board member Phil Putman. The three are challenged by five village residents. In a Feb. 17 primary, voters will choose six candidates to go on to the general election in April.


Metzner also is challenged as he seeks re-election.



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