By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Following a closed city council session during the Aug. 3 meeting, Councilwoman Nicole Barnes moved to suspend Police Chief Chad Hayse for 20 days with pay pending a hearing.
She did not state a reason.
The motion passed with Council members Carl Louvet, David Cybulski, Steven Densmore and Barnes voting yes, and Councilman Wheeler Marsee voting no. Michelle Said Land was not in attendance.
Earlier in the meeting, Barnes said she filed a motion the afternoon of Aug. 3 with City Clerk Diana Zarazua, a formal complaint regarding the police chief, and moved to suspend him without pay pending a hearing on the complaint.
She cited Melvindale city charter provision chapter 13, removal of a city official, section 17, suspension by a council member.
Louvet supported the motion, allowing it to be discussed.
City Attorney Lawrence Coogan said according to the Freedom of Information Act, the officer subject to discipline has the ability to have it done publicly or privately.
When a person in the audience asked Hayse what was going on, he said, as he rose and approached the council, “I have no idea.”
“I am not sure what to say,” Hayes said to the council from the podium before they went into closed session. “I was fired here one time, brought back by the council and the Public Safety Commission. Someone tried to fire me a second time, and nothing took ahold.
“I guess I would prefer to do this in private, and then if necessary you can come back to the public and make a comment during audience participation.”
Barnes rescinded her original motion for the purpose of going into closed session to discuss the issue.
After the vote on the final version of the motion, following the closed session, Public Safety Commissioner Patty Hall said she and four other public safety commissioners present agreed that Barnes’ motion was not allowed by the city charter.
“What you did tonight to the chief is against the charter,” Hall said. “You can read your part of the charter, and I will read my part of the charter under the public safety commission.
“We have full power to and responsibility and duty to hire and fire from that department. Not you. If you had a complaint against him, you should have came to us first, and we handle it, not you.”
Hall’s remarks were followed by applause from attendees.
After the meeting, Hayse said he would be speaking to his attorney before making a formal statement.
“I don’t understand why they are so vindictive,” Hayse said, “and have to try and fire someone three times as a chief.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)