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Oberlin Council passes amendment allowing hiring of new police chief

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    Sgt. Ryan Warfield

    PROVIDED PHOTO

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OBERLIN — City Council has passed an amendment to an employee policy allowing the city manager discretion when offering new hires vacation time, clearing the path for Elyria police Sgt. Clarence Warfield to become chief in Oberlin.

Warfield is set to begin in Oberlin on Nov. 20 at a salary of $100,000 per year. City Manager Rob Hillard announced last week that Warfield’s official start date would be pending approval from Council on this policy change because previously Hillard was only allowed to offer department directors 15 days of vacation time, but Warfield asked for 25 days.

The amendments passed by Council on Monday enables the city manager to “accelerate the award of vacation time” and allow the city manager “to make adjustments to the length of time requirements as he or she may deem to be appropriate under the circumstances.”

In a memo to Council, Human Resource Administrator Rosalind Watson said this allows Hillard to “satisfy the last outstanding condition for the appointment of the city’s new police chief” and also allows the city to compete for the best-qualified candidates in the future.

The second amendment agreed to by Council on Monday replaces references from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day as one of the holidays observed by the city in the employee policy manual.

The city has been without a permanent police chief since December after Chief Juan Torres quit 15 months into the job.

Some in the police department have opposed the hire of an outside candidate over two internal applicants, Sgt. Victor Ortiz and Lt. Michael McCloskey, who is serving as interim chief.

Three Oberlin police sergeants wrote Council last month asking members to examine the process Hillard used to hire Warfield, with the sergeants calling their new chief the least-qualified candidate for the job. The sergeants have requested that Hillard meet with the police union to address the concerns, but no date has been scheduled.

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or jweinberger@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jodi_Weinberger.



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