Misconduct alleged in Bettsville

Allegations of misconduct by the former administration of the Bettsville Police Department were presented Tuesday evening to the Bettsville Village Council.

The allegations are regarding the tenure of former police chief Don Mason.

Shawn Beckley, an officer with the department, read a general statement of that alleged misconduct and requested the council “address and investigate this formal complaint.”

Specific details regarding the alleged misconduct were not provided.

Officer Nick Baker, who stepped down as acting chief of the department last week, asked council to review the information submitted to ensure all sides of the story were considered.

Baker requested council members “look at the facts,” and suggested recent actions by the council were possibly based on “faulty information” that stemmed from those allegations.

After Mason’s resignation, Baker was serving as acting chief of the department until a new chief was hired. Baker stepped down when he and the council were not able to reach an agreement regarding other personnel at the department.

Stan Poe, who attended the meeting and begins a term on council in January, said he felt the council’s actions regarding the interim chief and other personnel were both “a mistake and a violation.”

Poe said council, which is governed by Ohio Revised Code standards, overstepped its governing power when it allegedly attached stipulations to the appointment of a public official.

Poe said the stipulation involved offering Baker the position of interim chief only if he accepted the council’s choice for sergeant.

Council member Rob Toy asked officers to “respect the council and give them time” to review the documents presented at the meeting and how the information might impact the department.

“We’ll make a decision for the community,” said council member Scott Harison.

Also during the meeting, Bettsville police officers Amy Dickman and Stephanie Patterson said they hadn’t been paid by the department since being sworn in earlier this year by the Mason administration. Both said they had timesheets to document their hours, and asked council for direction to resolve the issue.

Council members agreed to look into the matter, and “make it right.”

Council members said the alleged misconduct and subsequent personnel issues will be addressed when it holds its next meeting in 2014.

In other business, council approved temporary appropriations for 2014.