Janesville36.8°

Darien doesn’t reinstate DeVoy

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ANN MARIE AMES
September 22, 2009
— The Darien Village Board has turned down a settlement that would have brought fired Police Chief Steve DeVoy back to work.

The next step could be a hearing that for some time has been scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 29. The only way to stop the hearing would be for DeVoy to file a lawsuit contending the settlement offer was a binding agreement, village attorney Mark Hazelbaker said.


DeVoy agreed with that description in a phone interview with the Gazette after the meeting. DeVoy said his attorney, Tom Halloran, has said that if the board turned down the settlement, he would be prepared to “take it to the next step.”


DeVoy declined to say whether he would sue the village. He will talk to his attorney today, he said.


The board Monday night voted, 4-2, against a settlement that would have brought DeVoy back to work under specific conditions. The votes followed the pattern of split votes that has been typical since December.


Board President Evelyn Etten and board member Debi Olmstead voted in favor of the settlement. Board members Kurt Zipp, Jim Abbott, Bob Wenzel and Cheryl Kaufenberg voted against it.


Board member Craig McCue was absent because of illness.


About the declined settlement, DeVoy said he had been “looking forward to putting this behind (him) and coming back to work and developing a working relationship with the board.”


DeVoy has not worked since December, when former board President Bob Metzner suspended him with pay after village employees found surveillance cameras in the police department. The board upheld Metzner’s decision the next day.


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. It also showed that the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office installed the cameras at the chief’s request.


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 cameras without proper authority and having a sexual relationship with a subordinate.


He still is being paid while he awaits a hearing to make the firing official. That is the hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 29. It has been postponed several times.


If the board had agreed on a settlement, DeVoy would have had to give up 30 days of pay, he would not have had the power to discipline his employees or change their job duties, and he would have had to attend training and participate in a one-year evaluation program.


In turn, he would have released the village from all liability.


IN OTHER NEWS

-- The Darien Village Board on Monday learned it will cost about $560,000 to fix one-third of the village’s aging sewer system.


Village Engineer Brandon Foss gave the village board a report about the sewer-televising project that took place earlier this summer.


That amount would cover rehabilitation of one-third of the sewer mains and laterals in the village as well as the 24 manholes that need repair. The village plans to apply for grants and low-cost loans to fund the project.


Foss has started looking into the way other communities help residents pay for sewer lateral repairs.


n An agenda item about police costs turned into one of the most heated arguments in several months between the village board and audience members.


Board members Cheryl Kaufenberg and Kurt Zipp placed an item on the agenda seeking board approval to get a quote from the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office to provide coverage in the village.


Some argued that in an April referendum, village residents voted 203-152 to keep police protection a village matter. Others argued that getting a quote from the sheriff’s office wasn’t going against the referendum results.


The referendum was nonbinding.



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