Community Interests

Public Safety Director? Follow the City Charter or Revise the Charter!

On Tuesday January 12, 2016, the City Council will meet to discuss under New Business, Item #7): “Recommendation to Approve the Appointment of Interim Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Charles A. Yon as Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety in accordance with Sections 5.2 and 6.1 of the Charter of the City of Wixom.

The prevailing question is not the appointment of Charles A. Yon as Police Chief as he is worthy and well-qualified for the position and his appointment should be approved. The issue: to abolish the Director of Public Safety position.

The Prevailing issues before the Council is, “Whether to enforce the City Charter’s requirements for the position of Police Chief as required by the City Charter or to continue the Public Fraud and the illegitimate subordination of both the Police Department and the Fire Department by approving the “Director”s position in structuring the organizational staffing of the Police and Fire Departments.

Former City Manager, Mike Dornan, created the “Director’s position” and made a political appointment hiring retired Wixom’s Police Chief, Goodlein into the position as Director. The political appointment gave Mr. Goodlein his old job back but under a new title. The “position” never was then, or now, relevant or critical to the staffing of public safety.

There has been much written about the illegitimate position of Director of Public Safety’s created under Sections 5.2 and 6.1, and this writing will not reiterate these previous comments. The fact remains that the Director’s position subordinates the Police Chief and the Fire Chief and neither Sections 5.2 and 6.1 have no compelling authority to override Section 6.5 Chief of Police and 6.6 Fire Chief.

Is is well documented that the present Police Department and the Fire Department administrations work closely together and coordinate internally on all public safety issues as it should be. If there were several Police and Fire Department’s “outposts” to be maintained and personnel coordinated, there would be the essential justification for a Director of Public Safety position for coordination and control.

However, there is no substantial prevailing need or requirements for this position.

Here are the documented language of the City Charter for Police Chief and Fire Chief, followed by the Director of Public Safety’s Job Description.  A description of a position which is unbelievable in its overreach of duties and responsibilities.

Sec. 6.5. Chief of police.
The Chief of Police shall be the administrative head of the Police Department, and he
shall be accountable and responsible to the Manager for the performance of his duties. He shall perform all duties as may be prescribed for him by law, this charter, the Manager and/or
ordinance or resolutions of the Council.

Sec. 6.6. Fire chief.
The Fire Chief shall be the administrative head of the Fire Department and he shall be
accountable and responsible to the Manager for the performance of his duties. He shall perform all duties as may be prescribed for him by law, this charter, the Manager, and/or ordinances or resolutions of the Council.

City Of Wixom
EMPLOYEE POSITION DESCRIPTION
POSITION TITLE: Director of Public Safety
REPORTS TO: City Manager
SUPERVISES: All Police and Fire Personnel

QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Public Administration or a related field is required; a Master’s Degree in any of these fields is preferred; certification by the Michigan Commission of Law Enforcement Standards as a police officer and ten years of progressively responsible police/fire experience that includes supervisory and administrative duties. State certification as a firefighter and /or advanced and specialized training in firefighting, fire prevention, and emergency medical techniques is desirable.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
• Directs and Coordinates internal activities of the Police and Fire Departments.
• Formulates department policies and procedures including rules and regulations, written orders, memorandums, bulletins and periodic manual updates and implements necessary procedures to maintain proper internal controls.
• Identifies, documents and develops plans to respond to hazardous and toxic material situations in the city.
• Coordinates Police and Fire Departmental activities with outside agencies, other City Departments, courts and the Prosecutor’s office, as appropriate.
• Recruits, evaluates, and disciplines Police and Fire Department personnel.
• Prepares and administers Police and Fire Departments budgets.
• Ensures that regular activities and special events are sufficiently staffed to keep the peace and maintain order and safety.
• Directs maintenance of City fire stations, police station, vehicles and related equipment.
• Responsible for all aspects of departmental planning and staff scheduling.
• Coordinates the preparation of various reports for the City Manager, City Council, outside agencies and the public.
• Participates in all official contacts with the Police Department unions, including contract negotiations, labor relations and grievance procedures.
• Coordinates and schedules fire drills, training of volunteers, and mutual aid and training with surrounding municipalities.
• Coordinates and evaluates all aspects of fire prevention including inspections, site plan reviews, pre-planning, and maintains appropriate records.
• Makes appropriate personnel decisions with confirmation by the City Manager.
• Maintains contacts with citizens and various organizations to further the goals and operations of the department.
• Attends all City Council and other meetings as required.
• Performs related duties as required.
Position last reviewed September 2008

Respect for and administration of the City Charter’s dictates is a prerequisite for the City Manager employment. There are two- options for City Manager, Goodlein in this issue: 1) follow the charter or 2) change the charter to include what is needed or required by the dictates of protection for the safety and well-being of the community.

If a Department of Public Safety and a Director of the Department is essential for public safety, by all means Document and Support the justification with  pertinent facts to the Council and the people for review.

The City Manager is required to Document that a Department of Public Safety is needed and establish the budget for that department. If the documented substance and the costs associated with a Department of Public Safety are warranted and essential to the safety and well-being of the community, then a proper and professional “Agenda Item” sent to the City Council is appropriate.

A Charter Revision brought to the people by Council for a YES or NO vote for the establishment of a Department of Public Safety is in order. The voters would approve or reject the Character Revision based upon the merits and the expense of providing for the Department.

The practical and obvious solution to this matter is to approve Mr. Yon as the Police Chief. Council should trash the Director of Public Safety’s position. The City Charter and the LEADERSHIP of Police and Fire Departments remain solid and intact and the health and safety of the community prevails.

City Manager, Clarence Goodlein has a difficult job as City Manager, and his success or failure depends upon his ability to lead the city. His first action with a new Council ought to be the obvious: to follow the City Charter and not promote or confirm past political mischief.

The Mayor and  Council should abolish the Director’s position.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Ron

    January 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Mr. Glessner,

    Two times in your piece you refer to the Interim Police Chief as “Mr. Jon.” His name is actually Yon. I didn’t want your faithful readers to be confused. Thank you.

    • Mr. Wixom

      January 8, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      So true,and thanks for pointing out my errors,I shall fix em!

      • Mr. Wixom

        January 8, 2016 at 6:37 pm

        Knowing Charles for more than 30 years, I should be able to correctly spell his name. Sorry Charles!

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