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Plan would allow Darien’s DeVoy to return to work

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ANN MARIE AMES
September 20, 2009
— The Darien Village Board on Monday night could bring fired Police Chief Steve DeVoy back to work.

A draft nine-page agreement would allow DeVoy to work under certain conditions, according to a two-page summary of the agreement written by village attorney Mark Hazelbaker.


The agreement is a compromise that could bring an end to an issue that has split the village since DeVoy was suspended in December, Hazelbaker said.


“The purpose in doing this was to try to walk the edge of a razor in an issue that has been exquisitely painful for the village,” Hazelbaker said.


Highlights of the agreement are, according to Hazelbaker’s summary:


-- DeVoy would forfeit 30 days of pay. His personnel file would reflect that he served an unpaid suspension during that time. An unpaid suspension is the final step before termination.


If DeVoy displayed any performance problems in the next year, the village could seek termination and could bring up the 2009 complaints. After one year, the village could not bring up the 2009 allegations.


-- For the next three years, DeVoy would have no power to impose discipline or change the duties of any subordinates.


-- DeVoy would be trained on subjects that were problematic and led to the “allegations of misconduct.” The subjects could include the limits of wireless surveillance, relationships with co-workers, the police code of ethics and appropriate use of computers.


-- DeVoy would be on a one-year evaluation program. During that time, he would meet regularly with the police committee and others for performance reviews.


-- DeVoy would release the village and all of its officers from all liability for the events that occurred in connection with the charges and these proceedings.


-- DeVoy would not get involved—directly or indirectly—in village politics.


The agreement is a “classic compromise,” Hazelbaker wrote. It places DeVoy on “very thin ice,” but takes into consideration that DeVoy had not been disciplined in the five years he served as chief, he wrote.


“There are some who believe the chief should be fired immediately. There are some who believe the chief should be reinstated without conditions,” Hazelbaker wrote. “The settlement agreement satisfies neither of those points of view.”


Administrator Marc Dennison on Saturday posted a revised version of the agenda that allows for discussion and action on the matter Monday night.


DeVoy said Saturday he had not seen the final copy of the agreement and declined to comment.


DeVoy was suspended with pay after village employees found two surveillance cameras in the police department. While the village studied the legality of the cameras, investigators discovered documents they say indicate DeVoy spent many hours on the job violating the village’s computer policy.


The documents indicate DeVoy had a sexual relationship with a subordinate, investigators said.


The situation has divided neighbors and caused bitter debates within the village board, Hazelbaker wrote.


“The agreement does not represent a triumph for any viewpoint in this unfortunate controversy,” Hazelbaker wrote.


“It does, however, put the burden on the chief to demonstrate his ability to overcome the mistakes made and on the village to come together.”


The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Darien Village Hall, 24 N. Wisconsin St., Darien.



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