Former Belleville Police Chief Hal Berriman returned to his old office on Monday, Aug. 27, as interim chief until current Chief Gene Taylor returns from sick leave.
At the Aug. 20 meeting of the Belleville City Council, the council gave City Manager Diane Kollmeyer the authority to hire someone to fill in, on a part-time basis, for Chief Taylor.
Kollmeyer pointed out that Chief Taylor has been out on leave for eight weeks, at that point, and she doesn’t know when he will be back.
She has been serving as police chief in his absence and she told the council, “I don’t want to be a police chief.”
She said the senior police officers, Cpls. Todd Schrecengost and Kris Faull, have been doing extra duties. Faull has been handling scheduling, making sure shifts are covered, and making sure everyone knows what’s going on.
Kollmeyer said Schrecengost supplied her with statistical reports, the first such reports she has received. He also worked on scheduling training for the new officers and compiling a history of Charger police car repairs to be reviewed in advance of making a decision on what kind of new police car to get.
“They need direction and guidance, too, and so I propose we move forward on this,” Kollmeyer said.
When asked if Schrecengost and Faull couldn’t be appointed as interim chief, Kollmeyer said that was to be determined, but she didn’t want to take any officers off the road.
Schrecengost said he is union president and so it makes it awkward for him to make executive decisions.
Berriman, a retired Detroit Police officer, served about five years as Belleville Police Chief before leaving in 1999. Since then, he has been meeting for weekly breakfasts at the Cracker Barrel with some of his friends from Belleville, so he is up to date on local happenings.
In other business at the Aug. 20 meeting, the council:
• Took “under advisement” the letter from the Belleville Area District Library Board asking for a city “negotiating team” to be set up to meet with a committee from the library over the request for a transfer or donation of land as part of a possible building site. The council said it would review and consider the letter, but it needed more specifics. Library Board Chairman Mary Jane Dawson said she hopes they will all attend the 7 p.m., Sept. 26 meeting with the library space expert who will explain why they need the size library they are seeking;
• Opened three sealed bids for city engineering services and turned the bid packages over to the administration to study and make a recommendation. Bids came from Stantec, Hennessey Engineers, and Spicer Group;
• Approved Mayor Kerreen Conley’s appointment of Rosemary Loria to the Downtown Development Authority to replace Mike Colletta, who has resigned. The term will expire Dec. 31, 2013. Mayor Pro Tem Jack Loria voted for the appointment of his wife to the DDA and said he had checked with legal counsel and because the DDA is a non-paid position there would be no monetary gain for him. Rosemary Loria previously served 7 years on the DDA;
• Updated the City of Belleville Flag Display Policy, adopted in 2002, to include lowering the city flags to half-staff when ordered by the Governor, as well as the President, along with six designated holidays. Also, the flag in front of the fire hall is now included in those to be lowered. Other flags are at Five Points, Veterans Memorial, and Hillside Cemetery;
• Approved accounts payable of $251,512.51 and the following purchases in excess of $500: to Allie Brothers for police uniforms, $647.28 and $930.25; to ES&S, for election programming, $1,229.68; to ERIN Technology for property room maintenance, $750; and to Oakland Co. Treasurer for CLEMIS membership, $1,993.75; and
• Went into executive session to discuss the status and strategy of pending union negotiations.