Janesville48.4°

DeVoy will get six month's pay and $30,000

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ANN MARIE AMES
November 12, 2009
— The village of Darien will pay Police Chief Steve DeVoy $30,000 plus paid leave for the next six months on top of the 11 months he’s been paid since he was suspended.

He also will be paid about $35,000 for accrued holiday, vacation and sick time.


The settlement approved by the village board Tuesday night could be the end of a “bitter” and “rancorous” period in the village’s history, according to a statement released late Wednesday by the two sides.


According to the settlement details, also released Wednesday:


-- Devoy will immediately be re-instated, and the village will drop all charges made against him as the result of investigations earlier in the year.


-- DeVoy will be listed as being on “paid leave” until early May rather than on “paid suspension.” Although he’ll be paid, he will have no duties with the village.


-- DeVoy will resign at the end of six months.


-- The village will be allowed to start looking for a new police chief during DeVoy’s paid leave.


-- DeVoy will not accrue holiday or vacation time while on leave, but he will be paid for the 1,195.5 hours of holiday, vacation and sick time he accrued as of Oct. 31. Other documents indicate DeVoy is paid $29.47 an hour, or $61,298 a year.


-- DeVoy will keep his health insurance coverage while on leave.


The settlement is a compromise between the two parties, the release states.


DeVoy is “leaving a position he loved” while the village is paying a “significant severance package,” the release reads.


“Chief DeVoy has enjoyed his career with the village and would prefer to remain its chief of police,” the release reads. “He has come to recognize, however, that events of the past 11 months have made it impossible for him to return to his job and to be effective in that position.”


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


An investigation ensued, and residents and village officials alike split into camps that either supported or opposed bringing DeVoy back to work. Investigators turned up evidence that they said showed DeVoy was having a personal relationship with an employee and violating other village policies.


But many village residents said those were “moral” issues and DeVoy should not be suspended for such a long time.


“This matter began as a personnel dispute, which escalated into a bitter confrontation that sharply divided the village of Darien,” the release stated. “The dispute acquired momentum of its own which led to needless rancor and animosity between community members.”


Along with frequent arguments between board members and audience members during board meetings, the matter was characterized by split board votes. Tuesday’s decision to accept the settlement was no different.


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


Board member Craig McCue was absent because he has been ill.


TIMELINE

December: Employees find surveillance cameras in the police department. DeVoy is suspended.


March: The village board votes 5-2 to fire DeVoy. Eventually, six non-criminal charges are given. A hearing is scheduled for July that could uphold or turn down the board’s decision to fire the chief. The hearing was rescheduled several times, most recently for Monday.


April: Walworth County Judge Robert Kennedy upholds the Gazette’s request under the Wisconsin Open Records Law for documents supporting the charges against DeVoy. The release includes thousands of documents that include e-mails and pictures with sexual content and content offensive to minority groups.


August: The village board meets with DeVoy in closed session. In the following weeks, DeVoy agrees to a settlement that would have brought him back to work under a strict set of conditions.


September: The village board rejects DeVoy’s offer. DeVoy’s attorney files a motion to hold the board to the settlement. But in October, hearing examiner Scott Herrick denies the motion.


Tuesday: DeVoy and the village agree on a settlement.



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