City Council appoints Buckner as next police chief
MOORESVILLE — Mooresville City Council approved the hiring of Kerry Buckner as the city’s new police chief at its Tuesday, Aug. 2, meeting.
Hiring received a 5-0 vote. Buckner, who was recommended by the Mooresville Police Commission on Friday, July 29, will officially step into the new role later this month.
A total of 32 candidates had applied for the vacant post. The police board, which is responsible for hiring police officers, interviewed eight candidates before making its final decision to appoint Buckner.
Buckner comes to Mooresville with more than 30 years of law enforcement experience with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
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The new police chief outlined his goals during his discussion with the city council. This includes interviews with each officer to better understand the service. He also mentioned that he will focus on developing the department’s K-9 program and making the police department more accessible to the public.
Acting Chief of Police Salary
Councilman Jeff Cook raised the point that Acting Chief of Police Brock Chipman has not been paid a police chief’s salary while taking on the additional responsibilities and duties that the job entails. He said he disagreed with that, believing that Chipman should be paid on a police chief’s salary.
Cook also proposed a motion that all future acting chiefs receive the salary associated with the role, starting with Chipman.
“I would also like something to be written from now on to cover this so that it’s not a problem and it doesn’t happen again,” Cook said. “I think if they fulfill the role and the duties of this position, they should be paid for it.”
Council Speaker Tom Warthen and Councilman Dustin Stanley both expressed discomfort with the idea, citing a concern that former city employees who served as acting police officers or fire chiefs have not received the same salary as the permanent heads of the city would have been compensated.
Councilman Shane Williams acknowledged this point. He agreed with Cook, saying the board had the opportunity to change that for the better.
“I totally agree (with Cook). I don’t like the idea of asking people to do work they don’t get paid for. I think that’s a little bit ethically wrong,” said Williams. “I agree with the concept that we’re here now, we can do whatever it takes and make it retro or bring it forward for firefighters and police.”
The motion carried 4-1, with Warthen voting no. Warthen said while he supports the idea of moving forward, he doesn’t think it’s fair for former acting chiefs to pay Chipman the salary of a police chief dating back to his time. appointment in April.
Chipman has served as acting police chief since early April following the controversial demotion of former police chief Kevin Julian.
Julian was first promoted to Chief Constable in January 2020 following the retirement of Richard Allen. The city council voted 5-0 to demote him to his original rank of lieutenant at its March 16 meeting.
Demolition of 1 and 3 Main Street East
City Council officially approved its contract with Restoration Impact LLC, the company the city hired to demolish the tornado-damaged building at 1 and 3 East Main Street in downtown Mooresville.
The board previously approved Restoration Impact LLC’s $100,000 offer at its July 19 meeting. However, the city’s legal counsel indicated that a final decision could not be made at this time until a professional services agreement was inserted into the contract.
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The demolition process is expected to begin on Monday, August 8. During this time, the surrounding areas will be closed to cars and pedestrians. The project could take between four and five weeks. A crane and excavators will be used to remove the existing structure.
The city’s building department superintendent, Dave Moore, approached council to discuss two dilapidated properties that continue to receive a high number of complaints from citizens.
These properties have been overlooked for at least the past decade, according to Moore. One of them goes back to an even longer period of neglect. He said his office has received regular complaints about these properties since he started working in the construction department a decade ago. The city sent letters and made phone calls to owners of both properties asking them to cooperate and maintain the homes.
Since no cleanup has yet taken place on either property, Moore appeared before council to discuss the possibility of taking the matter to legal counsel to explore the ability the city’s legal system to enforce property maintenance.
It was decided that Moore would contact the owners once again to request that the properties in question be cleaned. Owners will also be advised that the city may be forced to take legal action if immediate action is not taken to remedy the situation.
The decision to go ahead with legal action will depend on the response Moore receives from the owners. Moore will share the response with the board at the next meeting.
The address of each property has not been disclosed.
The next Mooresville City Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 16 at the Mooresville Government Center, 4 E. Harrison St., Mooresville.
Contact reporter Tyler Haughn at [email protected]