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Chief severance approved

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At their Oct. 20 meeting, Village Council members approved a severance agreement for former Yellow Springs Police Chief Anthony Pettiford, who resigned his position for medical reasons on Sept. 19.

According to the agreement, the former chief will receive an amount equal to his regular wages through Dec. 31, 2014. The salary amount will be $22,394, according to Village Finance Director Melissa Vanzant on Tuesday, and Pettiford will also receive $7,739 for unused vacation and personal days, for a total of $30,133.81. The former chief also has 79 hours of unused sick days left, of which he has the choice of receiving payment for one-fourth the amount of the unused days, or of retaining all the hours for transfer to another public employer.

The agreement states that the separation from employment was necessary due to the “Employer no longer being able to offer employment within Employee’s restrictions resulting from Employee’s work related January 28, 2013 injury…” On that date, Pettiford sustained a shoulder injury while opening a car door for a child at Mills Lawn School. Following surgery for the injury, Pettiford that year took a several-months paid leave of absence, followed by parttime work and then light, or office only, duty. This spring Pettiford needed a second surgery and again took a several-months paid medical leave, which was followed by light duty until the date of his resignation. According to Bates this week, the paid medical leaves were funded by Worker’s Compensation rather than the Village.

According to the agreement, Pettiford “covenants to refrain from filing any lawsuit, claim or proceeding of any kind” against the Village.

Pettiford was hired in November, 2012, replacing former Police Chief John Grote. A Yellow Springs native, Pettiford announced his intention to follow the “community policing” style of former Chief James McKee, and be a visible presence in the community. However, his tenure was controversial for a variety of reasons, including concerns that he and his staff were rarely visible in the community. His tenure also suffered from high staff turnover.

At the Council meeting, Bates also presented a timeline for the police chief hiring process. A committee has been formed, comprised of citizens, Council members and police professionals, and applications for the position will close on Oct. 31. A public meet and greet for police finalists is scheduled for Nov. 24, followed by Council interviews. Council aims to hire the new chief by Dec. 15.

Other items of Council’s Oct. 20 agenda will be covered in next week’s News.


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