Chesapeake to host emergency council meeting Thursday

Published 1:37 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Session to discuss police chief resignation; ballot levy

CHESAPEAKE — An emergency meeting of Chesapeake’s village council has been scheduled for noon on Thursday.

Mayor Tommy Templeton announced the meeting, which comes two days after the village’s police chief, Randy Lewis, turned in his two-week resignation.

Templeton said the meeting will serve two purposes — to have council vote to either terminate Lewis’s employment immediately or to formally accept his resignation.

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Templeton said he was advised by the village solicitor to call the meeting.

While Lewis stated his resignation would take effect in two weeks when he announced it on Monday, Templeton said at the meeting that he would be removed from police duties immediately.

The council voted on Monday to accept Lewis’ resignation, though Templeton said since Lewis was not included on the stated agenda for that meeting, he has been advised by the village solicitor to hold the emergency meeting to address the matter.

Lewis said on Tuesday a sign, reading “Absolutely no admittance By order of the mayor” has since been posted on the rear entrance to village hall.

Lewis said he had not received any word from Templeton or village leaders.

“He or council hasn’t told me anything,” Lewis told The Tribune. “So I’m in limbo. I still have personal property in my office.”

Lewis said the police force was unsure what to do on Tuesday, and he questioned whether Templeton had closed the department for now.

“I’ve talked to the officers,” he said. “I’ve asked the mayor via text what should they do. The officers don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to tell them.”

A visit to village hall by The Tribune confirmed the posting of the sign and the building was closed, with police cruisers on the lot.

Templeton said the no admittance sign was placed due to evidence and seized drugs in Lewis’ office.

“As mayor, I’ve got to secure evidence and provide a chain of custody,” Templeton said. “There was not enough time to change the locks, so this was done on the advice of council.”

He said village hall and the police department were open, and the sign was posted for the chief’s office.

As for the officers serving in the department, Templeton said he has spoken with them about continuing to serve on the force and he has received applicants from those wishing to join.

Lewis was the third person to helm the police department during Templeton’s term.

Dennis Gibson, who held the position when the mayor began the job in January 2016, was removed from office by council at an administrative hearing in which Templeton charged him with dishonesty in office, malfeasance in office, insubordination and neglect of duty.

Gibson appealed the case, without success.

His successor, Lenny Abrams held the position of interim chief until September 2016, until he resigned, along with two officers, citing disagreements with Templeton on a number of issues.

Lewis was recruited to the interim chief position that month, serving until this week.

Randy Thompson, who has been serving as the village’s assistant chief, has been named as interim chief.

Templeton said Thompson has agreed to the job and is acting as chief, but is still on an out-of-state trip this week.

Templeton said the Thursday meeting of council would also discuss a police levy, to be place on the ballot for the fall.

The council has already approved the levy and his has been submitted to the board of elections, but Templeton said a few changes need to be made before the ballot deadline of Aug. 9.