Fired chief wants settlement enforced

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Ann Marie Ames
Stacy Vogel
September 26, 2009
— The termination hearing for a fired village police chief has been postponed yet again after the chief filed a motion over a proposed settlement.

The hearing for fired Darien Chief Steve DeVoy, scheduled for Tuesday, is now scheduled for Nov. 16, village attorney Mark Hazelbaker said. It is the latest in a string of delays for the hearing, which originally was to start July 20.

DeVoy and his attorney, Thomas Halloran, filed a motion Thursday asking the hearing examiner to enforce terms of a proposed settlement. The motion claims the village board authorized the deal before reversing course and refusing to honor it after DeVoy agreed to it.

“The settlement was entered into in good faith by Chief DeVoy and was the result of several months of negotiations and significant expenditures of monies,” a memorandum supporting the motion says. “To now allow the village to back out of its agreement would be unjust.”

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

The village’s investigation into the legality of the cameras turned up evidence that showed DeVoy was spending a lot of time at work violating village employment policy, according to investigators. The village fired DeVoy in March on six non-criminal charges.

A termination hearing was scheduled for Tuesday to uphold or strike down the firing.

DeVoy accepted a proposed settlement on or about Sept. 14, according to an affidavit from Halloran. The settlement would have allowed DeVoy to come back to work if he gave up 30 days of pay, attended training, participated in a one-year evaluation program and gave up his power to discipline his employees or change their job duties.

DeVoy believed the village board had already approved the proposal and it was a done deal when he agreed to it, he said Friday.

But the board voted Monday to reject the settlement. DeVoy and Halloran are arguing that the board did not act in good faith and are asking the hearing examiner to enforce the settlement.

The board did give Hazelbaker authority in closed session to offer the settlement, Hazelbaker said Friday. He said he has to evaluate the case further to judge the merits of DeVoy’s motion.

“It’s a difficult posture to be in when you do have settlement negotiations and they just don’t work out,” he said. “It causes a lot of problems all ways around.”

The hearing on the settlement is scheduled for Oct. 23 if necessary, Hazelbaker said.

“There’s always hope that you don’t need to spend the money and go through the difficulties involved in a hearing, but if we have to, we have to,” he said.

DeVoy said Friday he hopes to reach a settlement with the village before the Oct. 23 hearing.

DeVoy has worked at the Darien Police Department for more than 20 years and has been chief since 2003.

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