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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

In surprise move, council ousts marshal

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Charlie Hallam
CLOVERDALE -- In a surprise move Tuesday evening, the Cloverdale Town Council voted 3-2 to remove Charlie Hallam as the town's police chief and install ally and former Town Marshal Don Pearson as his replacement.

President Don Sublett, vice president Dennis Padgett and council member Glen Vickroy refused to give a reason for the demotion and instead referred questions to town attorney Allan Yackey.

Council members John Davis and Judy Whitaker voted against the changes.

The move comes just one week after town elections in which Sublett ousted Davis, Vickroy won re-election and Terry Puffer and Stephen Caulkins were elected to the board. Whitaker did not seek re-election.

The council's decision drew muffled reaction, both for and against, from the capacity crowd at the town hall.

Hallam told the BannerGraphic after the meeting Tuesday that his firing was politically motivated and not based on his performance either as a town department head or as a police officer.

When Davis asked Sublett whether Hallam had any disciplinary action on file, the board president responded with, "I haven't looked in his file."

Hallam contends that he has always been within his budget and that he has no complaints against him on record.

Hallam has been with the department since 1997 and has been chief since April 2004.

Pearson's on-the-spot appointment will mean that Officer Jason Baugh, who has the least seniority in the department, will likely be fired in order for the police force to stay on budget, Sublett said.

Whitaker called the move "unjustified" and "deplorable."

Pearson is the former county coroner, and owner of the newly-founded Donald L. Pearson Mortuary in Cloverdale.

Sublett did not return a phone message from the BannerGraphic seeking comment Tuesday night.

The council also voted 3-2, Davis and Whitaker dissenting, to prohibit council members from reviewing the town's legal files at Yackey's office.

Yackey said Whitaker's requests to view the files were racking up legal fees for the town and disturbing the order of the files.

Whitaker said the files at Yackey's office, which detail his correspondence with board members and his billing schedule, belong to the town, not the attorney.

Padgett made an attempt to cancel the town's credit cards and the mobile phones for town police officers.

He cited a list of unnecessary expenses on the credit cards, including hotel and dining charges.

Clerk-Treasurer Patti Truax said her office needs the credit cards in order to handle billing and other basic functions.

All charges to the cards have been cleared by the State Board of Accounts audits, as well, she added.

Padgett's motion failed, with Sublett, Whitaker and Davis opposed.

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Am I the only one that sees something wrong here? Shouldn't a "board" of people share concerns and ideas to solve topics of interest to the town? How can 3 people of a 5 person board, get together and decide to have a vote to fire an employee, without any explanation or consultation with the 2 other members? I am not concerned if the move is legal or not at this point. But I have to ask, hasn't this town been through the mud enough? Those three board members owe it to this community to justify their actions, and this newspaper should pursue the matter until they do.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 11:59 PM

This was not a firing. Do not try to make this into something that it is not. It is however political and no one can disagree with that. This is how politics works.

I have seen plenty in this community to justify keeping and demoting Charlie. Unfortunately the few bad things he does far outweigh the good that he does. The big thing to remember is that he brought this on himself by playing politics.

These are the choices people make in life and sometimes there are consequences that go with those choices. His demotion is one of those consequences. He could have been fired and not have any source of income to care for his family. I think he should consider himself lucky in that regard.

-- Posted by CdaleResident on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 1:56 AM

I would advise Xgamer to attend all town council meetings. When our town started going through the mud, there was a different trio on the council that refused to "justify their actions". I don't recall you complaining back then. How soon we forget...

-- Posted by cb on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 7:16 AM

What a shame for the town of Cloverdale. From what I can see, Charlie did an excellent job as town marshal. How many members of the town council would go chasing down criminals in the middle of the night or give up their holiday with their family to protect the streets of Cloverdale? When are these folks going to start treating each other like human beings? Shame. Shame. Shame.

-- Posted by hereforyou on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 7:45 AM

Please, "chasing down criminals in the middle of the night" since when did Cloverdale have police coverage after midnight from the Cloverdale Police Force while Charlie was police chief?? The changing of department chiefs, supervisors, & 'employees of the town' is a common practice in every town or city across this state when elections happen just as when the fire chief in Brazil was outed when there was a new mayor - it's a thing called politics.

-- Posted by freebird on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 8:22 AM

It's too bad we can't fire the town board on a count of 3-2. Thanks to Whitaker and Davis for trying to keep Cloverdale's Finest in place. Charlie, I don't care what you did wrong. Obviously, some people don't realize what Cloverdale will have to sacrifice. You are a great man and very much appreciated by a lot of people. I'm glad Alex isn't here to see this.

-- Posted by your mom on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 12:28 PM

Charlie, please hold your head high as you have much to be proud of. As a member of a law enforcement family (20 years with the Indiana State Police and a family member of one two term Sheriff of one of Indiana's largest counties), I can tell a high caliber police officer when I see one. It is sad that politics becomes the standard to guage someone's job performance. Your professionalism is something that most town's ultimately desire in their officers. Believe me, the people that really count know what a asset you are to this community. Your hard work will eventually be rewarded by people who really know how to guage a person's job performance. Great Job - Charlie!!!!

-- Posted by Legaleye on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 1:47 PM

"Charlie, I don't care what you did wrong." You have got to be kidding me. That sounds like an admission that he has done things wrong. If so then he did play politics and this is his own fault. It is not the town board's fault as a group or as individuals.

In a lot of cases it is unfortunate that this is how many government jobs work and things are not based on performance. However in cases like this it is hard to have sympathy with individuals who play political games and loose.

-- Posted by CdaleResident on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 4:20 PM

When is this town council going to start acting like mature adults instead of creating continual drama in our community. As a Cloverdale resident I ask you to work together in making decisions instead of fighting against each other. People need to come together in a small town to make it work. What would you teach your youth? Thank goodness for groups in our town working through their differences to try and make this a place to want to raise your children. Change can be good. Show us just that! **Best of luck to those being removed!

-- Posted by chicagogirl on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 8:07 PM

In my first comment I said "fire" instead of "demotion" or "re-arrangement". I do understand it is not a firing. I do believe that if you wish the board you are serving to vote on anything, the entire board should be aware of all the facts. No matter which "trio" practices moves like this, it is still wrong. This is the first outlet I have used to say anything publicly, mainly because it is just now available. cb can be aware that I and the town are better off that I do not attend any town meetings.The banner was at the meeting, and they don't know either! Those meetings are well documented and can be found easily on the internet. I have complained about behavior before but not on this venue. I did it in person and got my answers.

Now back to my point, the "Banner Graphic" has a cliff hanger story. Why did they vote to make this employment adjustment? It seems that 3 board members and 2 or 3 readers know the answer.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 9:39 PM

I wasn't going to comment, but feel compelled to since the Hallam cheerleaders seem to think he needs knighted for his 3plus years of acting as Marshal. I and others in town remember what really happened 3 plus years ago when Pearson left and Hallam was promoted. You didn't read about it in the paper, though.

The Town has confirmed the backing of Sublett and Vickroy by overwhelming margins in the recent election. They also made it clear that Puffer and Caulkins should join the council and Davis (Hallam's supporter)should be removed. Padgett also had an easy win in his last election.

The town's silent majority is happy with the change in the police department and I expect there will be more changes that will bring about better coverage within the town limits as well as with less waste and expense to the town.

Hallam has been very confrontational to the council majority and has been quoted as saying he can't work with the new board coming in. He also "challenged" Pearson as a choice in the public meeting. Therefore, it appears he is not willing to even try to work under the new leadership.

Board members do not have to publicly proclaim their reasons and are typically advised by their attorney to not comment to protect the Town and the taxpayers. Actually, not commenting often protects the person in question's reputation as much as it protects the Town.

Things can and have gotten ugly in Cloverdale. We are all sick of it and are very hopeful that the New Year will bring more positive changes and we can call the Cloverdale Crisis history.

-- Posted by South of 40 on Thu, Nov 15, 2007, at 9:38 AM

I'm sure, like all the other human beings on this earth, Charlie has made mistakes. I guess the "CdaleResident" is obviously not a human being and doesn't understand this. I have no idea what Charlie did wrong. All I have ever seen him do is treat everyone with dignity and respect, unlike the way he is being treated. Politics or not, Charlie Hallam is a great man and a great police officer. The town board has just chosen another way to stir the s**t pot and make it stink.

-- Posted by your mom on Fri, Nov 16, 2007, at 2:03 PM

To freebird and all the people with negative comments. I am a personal friend with all of the cloverdale police officers and I can tell you that the statement freebird made is a flat out lie. Anybody who has any math education knows if someone has more than 40 hours a week then they would have something called comp time. Well just ask anyone of the officers how much comp time they have and I will bet you every one of them have comp time earned. I would venture to say that the town clerk would back that up with records. Also not too long ago before one of the officers went to the academy, cloverdale police had an officer available all the way past midnight till two and four in the morning and sometimes later then that. Ever since charlie has been the chief of police. And I know that could be backed up by checkin with Putnam County Dispatch as they keep all the records on all officers in Putnam County when they are on and off duty. So get your facts straight before you make false statements. Also I can tell you first hand I have seen all of the officers working off duty on many different occasions

-- Posted by transkaw on Sat, Nov 17, 2007, at 4:11 PM

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