Council votes to give fired police chief medical benefits
The Wayland City Council Monday night unanimously approved medical benefits up to age 65 for fired Police Chief Dan Miller, but refused to say why.
When asked why, City Manager Mike Selden, acting on the advice of Curt McCamm of Kalamazoo, the city’s attorney, said, “It would be inappropriate to comment.”
McCamm then suggested this reporter research the law in order to obtain the necessary information.
The move comes as Selden still has not made a decision on a request to reinstate Miller after he was fired April 20 by then-interim City Manager Terry Hofmeyer for violations of city policies, procedures and codes of conduct. The firing occurred even after Miller had been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by an investigation by Michigan State Police.
Selden, who just started as city manager April 23, has been asked by citizens to reinstate Miller and he and the former chief have met privately. However, Selden still has not announced a decision and Eric Marshall, police chief of the Village of Paw Paw, has been acting chief in Wayland for a couple of days a week.
City Council chambers were packed once again Monday night with about 35 people supporting the discharged chief. Some accused the council and city manager of committing the same transgressions that got Miller fired.
Tracy Bivins asked Selden about the recent hiring of Jason Beckwith as a full-time officer, even though the position was not properly posted. Selden said he followed the recommendations of the other three full-time officers to replace Jim Rollins, who retired last December.
Sarah Holcomb then told Selden proper internal hiring procedure wasn’t followed, which was the same reason given for Miller’s dismissal.
Lisa Harnish noted that 18 of the 32 charges against Miller of not following city policies revolved around a set of golf clubs and rebutted all of them, saying the clubs lay around the station for nine years and were not used.
She also was critical of the contention that Miller improperly served a personal protection order on Phillip Convissor, who was the ex-husband of his current girfriend.
Chris Taylor maintained, “If the judge says ‘serve it,’ you serve it, it’s the law.”
Harnish said the order was served within the city limits, not outside the city limits, as was suggested earlier, and she said the mayor could be regarded as guilty of interfering with a sworn police officer in the discharge of his duties.
She told the council, “This one is on you for not providing proper information to the citizens.”
Bivins asked city officials to change the city charter in the future so that the police chief’s hiring and firing be done not by just one man, the city manager, but with vote and consent of the city council.