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Peninsula ends legal issues with former police chief

2/16/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

PENINSULA — Peninsula Village’s two-year legal fracas with former Police Chief Kevin McCue finally has ended, according to Peninsula Mayor Doug Mayer.

According to Mayer, the village is expected to pay McCue $120,000 and fund his Ohio Police and Fire Pension through June 1, 2014, when McCue effectively would retire with 25 years’ service, the settlement stated.

Mayer presented a two-page timeline of events to Village Council at the Feb. 13 meeting.

According to the timeline: Former Mayor Richard Fisher filed a complaint about McCue’s conduct with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office in September 2009. A subsequent investigation by the Sheriff’s Office found no criminal wrongdoing on McCue’s part. Following an evidentiary hearing, Peninsula Village Council voted unanimously in October 2009 to remove McCue from office, citing misfeasance and malfeasance of duty. McCue made an administrative appeal to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, where Judge Thomas Teodosio reversed Council’s decision in December 2010. The village appealed Teodosio’s ruling, but dismissed the appeal in September 2011 upon reaching a settlement with McCue.

McCue also filed a lawsuit against the village and against Fisher and Councilman Dan Schnieder individually, for defamation and interference with business relationships, according to the settlement agreement, which was filed in Summit County Common Pleas Court Sept. 28, 2011.

Under the settlement agreement, the village was to pay McCue a lump sum of $60,000 within 30 days of the execution of the agreement. In addition, the village was to reinstate McCue as a full-time police officer at a rate of $8 per hour for 37.5 hours per week for the period Oct. 30, 2009, through McCue’s retirement on June 1, 2014, a total not to exceed $60,000 during the period, the settlement said. During that time, he would accumulate vacation and sick time, and the village must make payments on his behalf to the Ohio Police and Fire Pension fund, according to the settlement.

McCue agreed, in the settlement, to immediately take all accrued leave upon reinstatement and to be put on paid administrative leave when his accrued leave is exhausted. The administrative leave would end June 1, 2014, according to the settlement.

Under the settlement, each party would be responsible for its own attorney fees.

In other business, Council approved a resolution authorizing Mayer to sign a contract with the city of Stow for building inspection services. Council earlier approved negotiating the contract. The village previously used the Summit County Division of Building Standards for permitting and building inspection services. The new contract takes effect Feb. 26.

Mayer also announced plans to use a grant from the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority for development of a village website. Fiscal Officer John Stiegel said development would begin in about a month.

Council also:

• approved the 2012 permanent budget ordinance;

• accepted three National Park Service road grants totaling $37,977. The grants will be used for erosion control along Akron-Peninsula Road, drain pipe replacement on Main Street and roadway wall repair by the Boston Township Hall, said Councilman Brian Schall;

• agreed to support a Peninsula Art Academy application for an Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant would be used to create a plan to improve the “pedestrian experience” in Peninsula, said Councilwoman Mary Booth. Any local matching funds were expected to be provided by the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy or the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Booth said.

• noted the Valley Fire District has a 6.3-mill operating levy on the March 6 ballot; and

• announced an educational forum on shale drilling and oil and gas mineral rights will take place March 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Boston Township Hall. Speakers are Dale Arnold, director of energy services for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and Matt Warnock, co-chairman of the Shale Task Force at Bricker and Eckler, a law firm representing public and private landowners in matters regarding oil and gas leasing. The forum was organized by Councilwoman Dee Holody.

A committee consisting of Councilman Charles Moyer, Booth and Holody met Feb. 15 to review proposals submitted for the village solicitor position. The committee was expected to review three additional proposals submitted since its January meeting and select candidates to interview, Holody said. The contract with the current solicitor expires at the end of February, according to Stiegel.

Council will meet in special session Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. to consider contracts for health insurance and village legal services. Council’s next regular meeting will take place March 12 at 7 p.m. in the second-floor Council room of Peninsula Town Hall, at the corner of state Route 303 and Akron-Peninsula Road.

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