Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Fennville reprimands outgoing police chief

The Fennville City Commission voted unanimously after a closed session on Monday, Dec. 19, to formally reprimand the city’s outgoing police chief.
The reprimand comes as Fennville Police Chief Greg Rukucki leaves the city after announcing his resignation last month. The city is scrambling to supply police protection, relying on neighboring departments to “lend” an officer for city coverage.
Closed session
The closed session was allowed under the state’s Open Meetings Act because Rekucki requested it for discussion of a personnel matter. Commissioners cannot discuss with the public what was said during the closed session in which only the commission, City Administrator Kathryn Beemer, city attorney Dan Martin and Rekucki were present.
Mayor Dan Rastall was absent due to illness. Commissioner Dennis Martin led the meeting.
When the commission returned to open session, Commissioner John Jamros proposed the city report the chief’s actions to “the proper authorities,” but no one seconded the motion, meaning it went no further.
Commissioner Jim Hayden then moved that the city direct its attorney to write a reprimand for Rekucki’s actions as discussed in the closed session to go in his personnel file. Jamros seconded the motion which passed unanimously.
Police problems
In November, the commission accepted Rekucki’s resignation effective Jan. 1, though no reason for his departure was given. Rekucki was chief since 2017.
Though his resignation states his last day is Dec. 31, Rekucki’s actual last working day is this week because he is using accrued time off, according to the city administrator.
The commission decided in November to seek a replacement for Rekucki, maintaining its own department instead of contracting for coverage with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office.
Interviews are continuing with four candidates under consideration, according to Beemer. A candidate will not be hired and ready to serve by Jan. 1.
“We will have no sworn officer once Rekucki leaves,” Beemer said.
The deadline to contract officers from Allegan County has passed, she said, meaning it is also too late for a temporary hire from the sheriff’s department.
Beemer has spoken with neighboring police departments and asked them to “lend” officers for some coverage. The city would pay for those services, though no amount was discussed.
State law requires the city have designated police coverage, Beemer said. Even without a police chief, the city will not be devoid of law enforcement protection. The sheriff’s department and Michigan State Police will respond to emergencies as they have in the past. The city has not had 24-hour, seven-day-a-week police coverage even when fully staffed. The county and state would respond to emergencies when no city officer was available.

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