(Posted May 23, 2018)
By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
Arc, West Jefferson’s drug-sniffing police dog for the past six years, is set to retire this summer. But the department won’t be without a K-9 unit.
At the May 21 West Jefferson council meeting, Rader-McDonald-Tidd Funeral Home presented the village with $15,500 for the acquisition of a new dog and training.
Steve Johnston, council president, complimented the Tidds, who were present at the meeting, on their gesture.
Police Chief Richard Hardy said the new dog would have a new handler. Sgt. Brandon Smith has been Arc’s handler from the beginning.
Hardy said the K-9 unit is important to the police department due to the village’s proximity to I-70 and U.S. Routes 40 and 42.
Police officer promoted
Police Officer Josh Jacobs was promoted to sergeant at the council meeting.
“He’s gotten lots of drugs and paraphernalia off the streets,” said Mayor Ray Martin before administering the oath of office.
Jacobs’s wife, Nicole, pinned the new badge on her husband’s uniform. The couple’s two boys—Graham, 5, and Marshall 4—attended, as well, each wearing a badge made to look like their father’s.
Martin’s attempt to hire an administrative clerk ran into a buzz saw when two members of council’s finance committee asked Martin why he didn’t bring the proposal to the committee first.
Jen Warner, finance committee, posed the question. Committee member Lori Cafagno also raised concerns about the proposed pay rate of $14.30 an hour.
Martin said the new position was designed for efficiency. He said the clerk would serve not only the mayor but also other administrative leaders in the village.
“Who decided on the pay rate?” Cafagno asked, as she compared the starting rate to similar positions. The hourly rate for the part-time assistant income tax clerk is $13.88, the same as the part-time assistant water and sewer clerk.
“This position requires only a high school diploma,” she said.
Warner added that other such positions required the diploma and experience.
“This should have been discussed in the finance committee, and now you’re making this an emergency?” Cafagno continued.
Warner, Cafagno and Mike Conway voted against the proposal. Jim King said the question could be brought back to council for a vote as a non-emergency piece of legislation.
“That means it would be a first reading, and there is no vote on a first reading,” said Johnston, the third member of the finance committee.
Warner offered up another idea: “Why can’t you bump the income tax clerk up from two days to four?”
Further action on the matter failed, and Johnston declared the issue dead at this time.