The city of Verona appears to be without a police chief after members of the board of aldermen declined to entertain a motion to retain Chief Tim Jones at a closed session meeting Tuesday night.
The meeting, which was posted at 2 p.m. on New Year's Day and held the following evening at 7 p.m., began with a motion by alderman DeDe Hutson to go into closed session. Alderman Michael Haynes objected to the motion and the meeting in general, maintaining that there had been no legal 24-hour notice or public announcement given and there was no good cause. With Hutson and Linda Gates voting "yes" on the motion to enter into closed session, the board did so.
Approximately an hour later, the members came back from closed session and voted to appoint Wayne Michael Rice to the position of fire chief of the volunteer fire department. The vote was unanimous with each board member voting "yes."
Mayor Joseph Heck then asked for a motion to retain Chief Jones and hire another full-time police officer. Haynes made the motion but received no second, and the motion died.
Heck asked if the board members wished to work on making a contract with Jones in order to retain him, to which there was no response. Haynes then asked if there was anything in Jones's file to warrant letting him go. Gates and Hutson said there was not.
The mayor then thanked Jones for his performance as police chief and asked if the board members wanted to do the same. Gates then said she "appreciated hi service, but that he was personally aware of the issues involved, and that it was nothing personal," according to the meeting minutes.
The meeting was then adjourned, leaving a vacancy at the police department.
The board's next regular meeting is scheduled for January 23. A public hearing on the possibility of the city joining the Aurora Rural Fire Protection District will also be held at 6 p.m., January 8, at ARFPD Station #4 (16464 Lawrence 2200 in Aurora).