On Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm, the City Council held its monthly meeting. The first item on the agenda was Public Petitions, in which potential problems with commercially owned and operated Air B&Bs was brought to the Council’s attention. The Council stated that some of the issues with commercially owned and operated Air B&Bs involving parties and the wording in the contracts about the parties had already been addressed. The Council agreed to research the other issues and the legal issues involving them, as this is an unprecedented issue. The Council tabled the issue until the research can be completed.
Road closure requests were also discussed. The Greencastle Fire Department requested a section of Indiana Street be closed on Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 3:30 pm to 8:00 pm for their annual open house. The Council approved this request.
DePauw University Athletics asked for road closures on the five Saturdays they host home football games due to the traffic congestion and safety concerns of the student and local pedestrians. The Council agreed and approved the road closure requests.
During the Department Reports, Chief of Police, Tom Sutherlin was asked to explain and investigation the Greencastle Police Department recently went through. Sutherlin stated on April 18, 2019 the police department was investigated by the State Board of Accountants for activities which occurred in 2014. The State Board of Accountant’s investigator met with Sutherlin, the City Clerk, and the Mayor, and the investigator informed them of three officers who fraudulently clocked in with Ivy Tech for security services while simultaneously being clocked in with the Greencastle Police Department during the year of 2014.
The police department routinely allows officers who are off duty from the police department to perform security services for other agencies. This, however, must be approved and signed off by Chief of Police Tom Sutherlin. The investigation determined these officers performed these fraudulent activities between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. The three officers are no longer employed by the Greencastle Police Department and have paid the City back for the illegally acquired paychecks.
The investigation also concluded the timekeeping protocols for the Greencastle Police Department and Ivy Tech were lacking. Since the investigation, the City of Greencastle, the Greencastle Police Department, and Ivy Tech have all updated their timekeeping systems. The Greencastle Police Department also created a new directive requiring officers working off duty at another location to fill out an off duty timesheet. Chief of Police Tom Sutherlin reviews the timesheets and the timekeeping reports to ensure there are no more fraudulent activities.
Chief of Police Tom Sutherlin offered a public apology to the City of Greencastle and the City Council for the illicit activities and the Council graciously accepted.
Chief of Police Tom Sutherlin also explained the even on Saturday, September 14, 2019 was a training exercise. This exercise was an event two years in the making to train emergency response staff and school staff how to respond and react in the case of an active shooter situation.
Sutherlin also reported it is standard for two officers to patrol during the First Friday events to ensure safety. These officers are performing as off duty contractors, and thus, they are not taking away from the regularly scheduled number of officers needed to patrol the City of Greencastle.
Mayor Dory and the City Council announced they are still looking for candidates for the Human Relations Committee. Interested persons can submit their letters of interest to the Mayor’s office.
A special session will be held at City Hall on Tuesday, September 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm to approve the City’s budget proposal. The proposed budget can be viewed at budgetnotices.in.gov.
The City Council meeting concluded with a reading and acceptance of the previous meeting’s minutes.