Italy City Council names new Police Chief

The Italy City Council met in regular session on Monday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. After calling the meeting to order, the council spent 3 ½ hours in executive session deliberating the appointment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of City Administrator Teri Murdock. After reconvening in regular session, the mayor stated this issue would be addressed in the second executive session.

The Italy City Council voted to hire Shawn Martin as Italy’s new Police Chief.

“Over the past few months, I have spent time with Shawn and the other officers,” said Council member, Steven Farmer. “I am big on promoting from within. If we hire Officer Martin as our Chief, it would give the other officers an opportunity to move up in the department. Officer Martin is out on the streets, not just doing paperwork in the office.”

According to the police manual, the Chief has a 12 month probationary period. After a lengthy discussion regarding salary, the council voted to pay Martin $48,000 per year.

The council also approved a resolution approving a contract with DCI Sanitation for refuse collection.

“We agreed to renew our contract with the City with no rate hike for trash services,” said Jack Bingham, DCI representative. “We do need better sludge containers and we are working on that. It would be at no cost to the city. Also, it has cost us around $3000 over the last few years to replace trash containers that were lost. We cannot afford to continue to absorb the cost so this will need to be passed on to the residential customers. It would add around 35 cents to each customer per month.”

The council also passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale, use and possession of electronic cigarettes, liquid nicotine and associated paraphernalia to minors with a penalty of fine not to exceed the sum of $500 for each offense.

Tobacco Ordinance

They also approved an ordinance to perform criminal history background checks on employees. Council member, Frank Jackson, stated he did favor doing background checks on new employees but not on current employees. The council voted to do background checks on current and new employees. All members voted yes except Jackson who voted no. They also approved using Instant Checkmate to perform the background checks at a cost of $60 for six months with unlimited checks.

Corporal Daniel Pitts presented information regarding new police vehicles.

“They no longer make Crown Victorias so the quotes are for Chevy Tahoes,” Pitts explained. “We need to take some of our current vehicles out of service and purchase two new ones. With all the lights, equipment and cameras we would need, the price would be $40,123 on each vehicle.”

Tahoe Quote

Teri Murdock explained the funds would be paid back over three years beginning with the 2015 budget. The council unanimously approved the request.

The council also approved a participation agreement with Government Payment Service, Inc. for support services in accepting credit card and debit card payments made to the City.

Murdock explained that this was already in place. They charge a percentage for each transaction. She said the old system was more costly for the city.

“With the old company, it could take up to a week for us to get our money. With the new company, we get the funds the next day,” Murdock explained.

Three citizens addressed the council.

Joan Grabowsky thanked the police department for the job they did on July 4th. She said there were no fireworks in her area this year. She thanked the public works for having cold water from her tap. She also requested the city put a street sign on the corner of Dallas Street and Couch. She said she had requested this several times.

Karen Mathiowetz thanked the police department for patrolling in the city limits. She stated officers had been by her house several times in the last few months. She also told the council that she took offense to the citizens paying for their sandwiches that were delivered earlier. She said that she and several citizens had been there since 3:00 p.m. just like they had and were hungry too. She added that all of the council and mayor were paid by the city and she thought they could buy their own supper.

Paul Jacinto asked why the meetings were being held at 3:00 in the afternoon when a lot of people work and cannot attend at that time. Mayor Hobbs explained that they had to talk to several city employees and they were not available previously.

At the end of the regular session, the council went into a second executive session to discuss and take action on the issue discussed previously regarding Teri Murdock, They also were to discuss and consider necessary action regarding real property, consult with the City Attorney regarding the grievance investigation issues and City Council procedures.

After almost an hour, they reconvened and took no action on the real property and consulting with the City Attorney. On the issue of Teri Murdock, Council member Greg Richards said that he and Mayor Hobbs will meet with Murdock and other city employees on the matter.