Following a five-hour closed-door session Wednesday, the Runaway Bay City Council accepted Police Chief Drew Paschall’s resignation and settlement offer, and it placed City Administrator Greg Leveling on administrative leave with pay effective at the end of the work-day Wednesday.
Although the “final terms” of Paschall’s resignation, effective immediately, were to be negotiated, the city’s attorney, Meredith Ladd, said the council agreed to pay 12 months of the remaining 22 in his 3-year contract.
The contract, with a $57,688 annual salary, was inked just a little more than a year ago after Paschall had tried to resign in January 2011.
“We had some rough spots in the past with our police department and fire department,” Mayor Robert Ryan said then. “But in the four years that (Paschall) has been with us, we’ve had one of the best in the area … he had another offer. We weren’t gonna let that happen. The security of our citizens is of utmost importance.”
Paschall’s resignation came a week after Mike Jones’ resignation from the police department. According to city officials, Jones helped the city obtain “hundreds of thousands” in grants in his years at Runaway Bay.
With the departure of the two, the police force downsizes in half to two – Sgt. Rex Richie and Officer Sue Huffman.
“I have no doubt that the remaining force will do a good job of protecting the citizens,” Paschall said. “The council wanted to go one direction; I wanted to take the department another.”
Paschall also served as the director of public safety and oversaw the volunteer fire department. He ensured all his officers be cross-trained as firemen and medical technicians.
Council members then voted to place Leveling on administrative leave with pay, motioned by Jerry St. John and seconded by Dan Ticer.
“We are talking to his attorney regarding a settlement in the buyout of his contract,” Ladd said. “Council felt (placing him on paid administrative leave) was the best approach until a settlement is reached.”
Like Paschall, Leveling completed the first year of a three-year contract earlier this month.
He has served as Runaway Bay city administrator since January 2010.
Before then, he was in law enforcement in Denton and Dallas counties.
Leveling declined to comment, citing possible litigation.
“It’s all political,” citizen Willard Lawson said. He was one of a dozen citizens that weathered the five-hour session to hear the verdict.
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