City council upholds officer termination

The Italy City Council upheld Police Chief Diron Hill’s decision to terminate Jamie Thompson, former officer for the City of Italy, at its regular meeting Monday evening in council chambers.

The city council met in closed session twice before reconvening into open session at 6:54 p.m. to make the decision.

Lance Wyatt represented Thompson in the appeal process to the council.

Wyatt said the chief terminated the officer over three issues – Facebook comments, a fuel purchase and a call to service involving a DWI arrest.

The attorney claimed his client was not informed of complaints in a timely manner, that the chief did not afford his client appropriate representation during an interview, that there were discrepancies in regard to dates that information was reported and that the chief was not setting the example for the department.

Summing up, Wyatt asked the council to read the letter he provided and overturn his client’s termination.

The council met in executive session for eight minutes with Ed Voss, city attorney. They returned into open session with Rodney Guthrie making a motion to uphold the chief’s decision. Dennis Perkins Jr. seconded the motion which passed unanimously.

In other business, the council nominated Greg Ingram, Larry Gilley, Byron Black and Pat Norris to the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool 2012 Board of Trustees and Gayle Sims of Waxahachie to the Texas Intergovernmental Employee Benefit Pool 2012 Board of Trustee election.

The council also approved an interlocal agreement with the Texas Department of Public Safety regarding the Failure to Appear Program offered by that department.

They tabled an item to adopt an updated personnel policy manual. Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, said she has revised the manual which had not been revised since 2004. Murdock said she condensed, revised and corrected the manual. James Hobbs made the motion to table the item until he could study it further. The motion passed unanimously.

During department reports, Hill said the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) have decreased 48.5% since last August. During the month, officers responded to 44 animal complaints, 30 close patrol, 20 disturbances, 16 city ordinance violations and 13 theft/assist other agencies. Officers were called to service 113 times in August of 2011 and 257 times in August of 2012.

The municipal court received 396 citations filed by the police department, cleared 18 warrants, issued 40 collection letters and issued 130 warrants last month.

Murdock said she spent the month working on the personnel manual and the 2012/2012 budget.

The council also approved minutes from the August meeting, bills and earned compensatory time.