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Mayor wants to work with police chief to ensure safety of residents, officers

By Carol McIntire

A meeting is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 10 prior to the Carrollton Council session between Mayor Frank Leghart, Village Solicitor Clark Battista, Police Chief Ron Yeager and his legal counsel, Atty. Robert Tscholl of North Canton.

Mayor Leghart told The Free Press Standard (FPS) the meeting is set to discuss two memos Leghart sent to Yeager regarding the scheduling of officers on the Carrollton Police Department.

Leghart said he previously discussed with Chief Yeager his desire to have two officers on duty in the village at all times. Oct. 18, he sent a memo to Yeager outlining general rules he prescribed to accomplish his goal.

“I felt it was in the best interest of the village and the safety of its officers to have two officers on a shift at all times,” Leghart said. “I presented the police chief with a model schedule that could be used and asked him if he had a more efficient and effective schedule to achieve this goal to submit it to me in writing for review.”

“I knew Ronnie was concerned that having two officers on duty was going to increase his budget,” Leghart continued. “But, by using part time officers we would have saved half of what it was going to cost to fill the shifts. I don’t know if you can say something costs too much to keep our residents and our officers safe.”

The mayor said he noted that on at least four occasions, there were not two officers on each shift during late October and early November. On one occasion, the mayor said he rode with a rookie officer until the relieving night shift officer arrived.

On Nov. 15, Leghart, after consulting with Battista, sent a letter to Yeager charging him with four counts of insubordination; four counts of wanton and willful neglect in the performance of assigned duties; four counts of working in an unsafe manner that endangers one’s self, fellow employees or the public, all of which stemmed from not having two officers on duty at all times; two counts of dishonesty, two counts of falsifying of assisting in falsifying or destroying village records for altering the posted work schedule; and one count of malfeasance for knowingly altering the schedule in an attempt to deceive.

The letter said council would hear the charges during the Nov. 26 council meeting. Council met in executive session that night for nearly an hour to discuss the discipline of an employee with no outcome.

Mayor Leghart said Tuesday he has since learned some things that are the basis for dropping the charges.

Yeager said he had no comment when contacted by the FPS and referred us to his attorney.

Tscholl said Tuesday he and his client feel “the charges are not in any fashion valid.”

“We fell the major extended his jurisdiction in doing scheduling for the police department,” he said. “Statute clearly states the police chief does the scheduling for his department.”

Leghart said he wants to make it clear he has nothing against the police chief and wants to work with him for the safety of village residents and police officers.

“I have no personal vendetta to get rid of any village employee and want to work with the police department to make the village a safer place,” he said.

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