Janesville31.1°

DeVoy’s motion denied

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ANN MARIE AMES
October 21, 2009
— Suspended Darien Police Chief Steve DeVoy is one step closer to getting his day in court.

Hearing examiner Scott Herrick has denied a motion made by DeVoy’s attorney, Tom Halloran. The motion was part of an ongoing argument that has been moving slowly toward an evidentiary hearing for the chief.


Halloran moved to prevent the village from walking away from settling with DeVoy, Herrick told the Gazette as he explained his five-page denial.


Halloran filed the motion after the board in September voted against a settlement that would have brought DeVoy back to work under strict conditions.


“The chief is not claiming it (the draft settlement) is a contract,” Herrick said. “He’s saying the village should be estopped (a legal term loosely meaning “stopped”) from walking away from it.”


Herrick denied the motion Saturday without holding a hearing that had been tentatively scheduled for Friday, Oct. 23. Herrick disagreed with Halloran’s argument that the board was bound to negotiating.


With the motion out of the way, the two sides might be more likely to settle prior to an evidentiary hearing scheduled Nov. 16, Herrick said.


The Gazette could not reach Halloran or village attorney Mark Hazelbaker to ask about the likelihood of a settlement.


But the board Monday night turned down an option that could have resulted in a settlement.


The board voted against giving the village police committee the power to meet with DeVoy to reach a settlement. The police committee last week recommended that course of action.


Some audience members supported allowing the committee to meet with DeVoy, saying the village can’t afford the cost of a hearing.


Some board members said that a hearing needs to take place to let the public see the evidence against DeVoy.


DeVoy has not worked since December when he was suspended with pay after village employees found surveillance cameras in the police department.


An investigation into the legality of the cameras unearthed evidence that investigators said indicated DeVoy spent a lot of time on the job violating village employment policies. The Walworth County Sheriff’s Office installed the cameras at the chief’s request, according to investigative documents obtained by the Gazette.


In March, the board voted to fire DeVoy based on a series of non-criminal charges including violating the village’s computer policy, installing the computers without proper authority and having a sexual relationship with a subordinate.


He still is being paid while he awaits the Nov. 16 hearing that could uphold or deny the board’s decision to fire the chief.


The hearing already has been postponed several times.


In addition to denying Halloran’s claim, Herrick’s written denial answered one question that has been debated by both sides.


Some have said that if DeVoy were fired, he would have to pay back the salary he has earned since March.


Herrick disagrees.


“Chief DeVoy will not be required to repay salary received since March 7,” Herrick wrote. “His salary is secure pending disposition of the charges against him, and of course the charges may be decided in his favor.”



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