We draw closer to another chapter in the Ferrelview saga, and honstely, there’s no reason to even try and guess what’s next.
I’ve done my best to keep the reporting factual and fair, but there’s been little ability to please anyone, much less everyone. News outlets covering this tense standoff between supporters of police chief Daniel Clayton and his detractors have a no-win situation.
And you know what? That’s fine.
This is an uncomfortable situation for pretty much everyone. Separating fact from ongoing speculation and rumors can be difficult.
What I can tell you is plenty has happened since a pair of Ferrelview Board of Trustees meetings last week. There’s been a public water bill dispute and a postcard distributed to residents. Apparently, there will also be an upcoming private town meeting meant to address ongoing concerns deemed not to be receiving enough attention during the heated trustees sessions.
Media will not be invited to attend.
The board of trustees will likely have to continue to try and discuss the troubled village’s future amid controversy. That will include uniformed members of the Platte County Sheriff’s Office in attendance and being paid despite the financial hardships the village apparently faces — along with an upcoming state audit scheduled to try and find problems with practices and policies.
Some have disagreed with the law enforcement presence, wanting Clayton to preside over the meetings at a cheaper rate. However, in light of state rule changes related to Senate Bill 5, the village would likely be better off to keep him from being a distraction and perceived threatening presence to some.
It’s unfortunate that the conduct requires anyone to intervene.
At the same time, a scheduled review of Clayton’s position also brings concerns for his detractors. A state review of his peace licensing office brings credibility to the accusations of misconduct and excessive use of force, but the village might be best to let that process play out vs. continuing its own trial.
The vote to extend the notice of intent to terminate passed with a 3-2 vote. Two of those in the majority include board president Theresa Wilson and her husband Russell Wilson.
Currently, Clayton is listed as a witness in a pending criminal case in Platte County against Theresa Wilson’s son involving charges of statutory rape. Why the Wilsons would want to make any vote concerning his employment right now is beyond me.
Obstaining would seem to be the smart move, but instead, the Wilsons have persisted despite would could be considered an almost certain conflict of interest in the matter.
The state’s complaint would seem to carry the necessary weight, although supporters of Clayton seem to think this just expands an ongoing grievance of a select few looking to cost the chief his job without justification. While innocent until proven guilty, the accusations listed in the official notice are certainly concerning to a neutral observer.
I don’t believe for a second that the state will be pursuing the charges this actively if there weren’t sufficient evidence. Previous investigations conducted by the Platte County Sheriff’s Office into Clayton’s practices involved the FBI, and despite no charges filed in criminal court, there are no documents public that would indicate what those agencies were looking into at the time matches the current scope of the state’s complaint.
The recent postcard sent out to Ferrelview residents used a picture from the Platte County Citizen’s files along with a direct link to a story detailing the state’s investigation. Quietly ominous, the bottom lists the date of the next Ferrelview Board of Trustees meeting: Tuesday, Sept. 12.
Be sure, there will be more discussions — some very animated — as the story rolls on. This also won’t be the end for a troubled village that has unfortunately become the center of a controversy that does way more harm than good.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.