No action taken on police chief’s retirement

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No action on police Capt. Robert Wilson’s retirement request was taken by Washington City Council Thursday night.


In fact, Wilson’s sudden retirement, which consumed Monday night’s agenda meeting of council, wasn’t even mentioned last night.


The Observer-Reporter has learned that an item on Thursday’s agenda, which had to do with voting on Wilson’s retirement request, was removed from the agenda two hours before the council meeting was held.


No reason was given for the item being taken off the agenda. Mayor Brenda Davis declined to comment on the matter as did two council members and attorney Lane Turturice. Wilson couldn’t be reached for comment.


Former city police chiefs Ed Cochran, Roger Blythe and Jim Hansen were present at the meeting. Afterwards they said Wilson would still be considered a city employee until council acts on his retirement request.


Wilson texted Davis regarding his intention to retire effective 4 p.m. Monday. That night, members of the city police department attended the council meeting and John Hritz, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 95, asked council to remove Davis as head of the police department, calling her a “bully” and “micro-manager.”


Davis responded by saying she was being discriminated against because of her sex and that the police force did not take kindly to having a woman in charge.


On Tuesday, she announced that Lt. Dan Stanek would serve as officer in charge for 30 days. Stanek attended last night’s meeting and gave the department’s monthly report.


A few residents called for unity between the mayor and council in order to improve conditions in Washington.


Among them were Eleanor Brunetti, who suggested a greater police presence was needed to deter drug activity, and Georgia Ballentyne, who lives on the same street where two people were shot recently. Ballentyne said officials need to cooperate in order to combat a growing drug problem.


“I think you guys owe us a better job that what you’re doing,” said John Campbell.


Louise McClenathan said residents are their own worst enemies “for electing public officials who care little about us.”


Also at the meeting, a motion to pay a $2,100 bill for nTouch to set up a ridership data base for Washington City Transit Authority died for lack of a second. Councilman Matt Staniszewski is on nTouch’s board of directors, but has said he does not derive any income from the business. The city has a contract with the company to set up and operate the web site at a cost of $19,000.


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