MOUNT VERNON — The split between former police chief Mike Merrilees and the city of Mount Vernon was less than amicable and layered with confusion and resentment, according to a letter from Merrilees to Mayor Richard Mavis. The document was acquired by the News through a public records request of the latest information in Merrilees’ personnel file.
Merrilees, along with Detective Sgt. Robert “Kit” Morgan, were placed on paid administrative leave on July 12, five weeks after the Bureau of Criminal Investigations agreed to investigate allegations of misconduct. During those first five weeks, Merrilees and Morgan both remained on the job.
In his letter, dated Dec. 6, his official last day with the city, Merrilees questions Mavis’ motives as he turned from supporting the 25-year employee to “pressuring” him to retire.
“Recent newspaper coverage seemed to bring out the politician in you,” Merrilees said. “I was asked many questions and answered them completely and honestly. I was told that I would not be placed on leave and that I should ‘hang in there.’ Within a few days I was placed on leave despite what I had been told. I did not understand the reasons, at the time, but cooperated fully.”
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