Acting police chief Hartz suspended
Monday, August 19th
By ALAN REED and CHUCK MARTIN
News Staff Reporters
MOUNT VERNON — Inappropriate conduct within the Mount Vernon Police Department has prompted the announcement of yet another department suspension. Mount Vernon Safety-Service Director Dave Glass has issued a three-day suspension for Acting Police Chief George Hartz, who was released from his duties effective 12:01 a.m. today. The suspension will carry through the end of Wednesday.
“There was a rules violation that we heard of last week. I contacted George, and he confirmed that he had done something inappropriate. And we made the decision to suspend him for three days,” Glass told the News this morning. No other action is planned other than the three-day suspension. Glass declined to elaborate any details about the violation.
Mayor Richard Mavis said Friday, in response to a question about rumors that Hartz had been suspended, that the administration was looking into a situation and he expected that it would be resolved by the beginning of the week.
He did not say anything about the disciplinary meeting held later that afternoon.
Mavis said Monday that he had received information about the situation last Tuesday. He turned it over to Glass, who looked into it with Law Director Chip McConville.
When Hartz was contacted about the stories, he was “forthcoming” about the situation.
Mavis said they also researched possible disciplinary action and by Friday, he said, they had determined the three-day suspension would be appropriate.
Because Glass said he believes it is extremely important to the department and the general public that a commander be in place at all times, he sent a letter on Aug. 16 to the staff of the Mount Vernon Police Department explaining the temporary appointment of Sgt. Troy Glazier as acting chief in the absence of Hartz.
The decision on who to appoint as acting chief was made by Glass. Of the five sergeants in the department, Kit Morgan is still on leave pending the outcome of the BCI investigation and Scott McKnight was just recently promoted, leaving Troy Glazier, Roger Monroe and Fred Gerber.
Glass said he chose Glazier as the most able to handle the department during the suspension period.
“I had to make a judgment call,” he said. Hartz was consulted about the appointment as well.
The violation reportedly involved a Knox County 9-1-1 employee, according to 9-1-1 coordinator Rick Dzik, who added that all dispatchers are currently employed by Knox County and not the City of Mount Vernon.
“I don’t believe there are any dispatchers left who started as city employees,” said Dzik. “The things that Capt. Hartz was disciplined for occurred when my employee was not on duty. So there isn’t a lot of discipline I can take out on this employee.”
Dzik is planning a meeting with this employee today who is to be moving to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center. But the move is said not to be disciplinary in nature but rather to avoid a conflict of interest.
“There were no 9-1-1 work rules violated,” he said.
Mavis said he does not have any evidence of a lot of such activity between law enforcement and dispatchers and didn’t recall any specific discussions of problems at the 9-1-1 consolidation meetings he attended. However, he agreed that allegations filed by dispatchers against former EMA Director Brian Hess did cast a shadow over some of the discussions.
He doesn’t think this will have any effect on the consolidation process, which he said is still on schedule for completion by April.
Knox County Commissioner Teresa Bemiller, representing the 9-1-1 board, could not be reached for comment.
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- Police Captain George Hartz
- Police Chief Mike Merrilees
- Sgt. Robert “Kit” Morgan
Perkins fired from MVPD April 22, 2013
News investigation uncovers ‘fishy’ deal May 24, 2013
City policy protects whistleblowers June 3, 2013
BCI investigating MVPD chief, sergeant June 10, 2013
Storage, scrap sale add to MVPD woes June 11, 2013
Merrilees’ evaluations unimpressive June 12, 2013
Morgan qualified, respected June 13, 2013
No felony cases for MVPD detective June 19, 2013
City officials get training in records retention June 28, 2013
Tapes tell tale of MVPD deals July 1, 2013
Officer: It’s ‘miserable’ at MVPD July 9, 2013
Same test given for captain, chief July 10, 2013
City denies claims in Perkins lawsuit July 12, 2013
Merrilees, Morgan placed on leave July 13, 2013
Retired officers concerned about future of MVPD July 15, 2013
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