Ferrelview chief questions board chairperson about contacting his employer

Ferrelview Police Department chief Daniel Clayton accused the village’s board of trustees chairperson of attempting to sabotage his new employment.

During a rescheduled board meeting held Monday, Oct. 16, the controversial officer asked Theresa Wilson why she had contacted his new employer. Clayton’s hours were cut to part time over the summer in a budget slash move the village board made that also eliminated the other officer positions.

Clayton has since taken part-time employment with another area police department, although that location was not disclosed.

Wilson did not answer the question, and Ferrelview village attorney Scott Campbell advised the matter should be taken up in closed session to protect Clayton’s privacy. Clayton believes Wilson placed the call in an attempt to affect his employment, and that information shared was meant to demean his character.

Previously, the Ferrelview board sent Clayton a 10-day notice of intent to terminate but later granted an extension for him to prepare legal representation. The matter hasn’t been addressed again in open session since documents involving a complaint against Clayton filed with the Missouri Department of Public Safety were made public in September.

Set for a hearing in February, Clayton could lose his peace officer license or face other discipline if found to have committed assault and/or sexual abuse alleged in the document.

Monday’s meeting came after the regular session scheduled for six days earlier was postponed with two members of the board unavailable. Diedre Carr remained absent Monday for what ended up about an hour-long session that didn’t feature as much of the village’s recent theatrics.

Residents in support of Clayton again showed up and spoke out on the presence — or lack thereof — of police in the community. Russell Wilson, another chairman, said he’s heard complaints about Clayton’s visibility in the community, while some at the meeting indicated an increase in Platte County Sheriff’s Office patrols.

During public comment, William Phillips — a resident — asked when citizens could expect to see more law enforcement. Theresa Wilson directed the question to Clayton, who has been directed to provide a schedule for his 20 hours per week between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. to board police liaison Melvin Rhodes.

Clayton has been hesitant to work with Rhodes due to a disgruntled relationship between the two.

“I’m directing my question to you because you’re the one that cut his hours,” Phillips said.

Campbell eventually advised that the board speaks through its minutes, which are available for review at any time. The decision to cut back the police department came over the summer after a financial review prior to the Missouri State Auditor’s Office’s ongoing audit into the village’s practices.

Phillips did not find the answers satisfactory during a terse exchange starting when he declined to give his address before speaking to the board.

“So we’re lawless in this town?” Phillips asked.

Other members of the audience attempted to speak but were rebuffed.

The village started asking residents wishing to address the board to sign in prior to meetings. A proposed ordinance written in conjunction with the Missouri Municipal League will be addressed next month which will require the form and enforce a time limit for each person speaking.

With members of the audience becoming more vocal about the inability to ask questions, the board voted to go into closed session. Phil Gilliam, a trustee, requested his objection to the action go into the minutes.

The meeting quietly started with a review of last month’s minutes.

Mickey Vulgamott, village treasurer, gave more concerning financial news during her report, indicating the village allowed paperwork on public safety grant money to lapse. The police department purchased four flak jackets — custom fit — using the grant money but now might be stuck with the equipment in addition to a need to repay the money used.

Clayton indicated that a former officer’s lack of access to Ferrelview City Hall contributed to the paperwork not being finished.

In addition, Vulgamott received a notice of a $465 payment for delinquent tax filings made in 2016. She attributed the mistake to the prior auditor.

The board provided documentation in June showing the village owes the state of Missouri more than $30,000 due to an overcollection of traffic fine revenue and court fees from the last fiscal year. Shortly after, trustees voted to dissolve the municipal court and cut the police department down to just Clayton at 20 hours per week.