Clyde police chief suspended without pay
Clyde leaders gathered again Wednesday morning in a closed session meeting to continue their discussions about taking further disciplinary action against the Police Chief Gerard Ball, though the reasons for his initial suspension remain vague.
The mayor and four aldermen unanimously voted to place Ball on a 30-day suspension without pay for "personal misconduct," said Town Administrator Joy Garland.
They also imposed a 12-month probation period, during which time he could be fired without warning if his work or personal conduct is considered unsatisfactory.
A public notice was released at 1:20 p.m. Friday saying that the mayor had called an emergency meeting for 4 p.m. Friday to discuss the issue. During the closed session meeting, the board decided to suspend Ball with pay for five days.
The mayor and four town aldermen announced during that meeting that they would reconvene the meeting Wednesday to discuss further action. According to the North Carolina Open Meetings law, a continuance of an emergency meeting does not have to be noticed to the public and media.
The group met behind closed doors once again Wednesday for nearly three hours before reaching a decision.
"The board decided to give him a second chance. We had compassion for him really, but we put conditions to it," said Clyde Mayor Jerry Walker.
Ball was present in the conference room when the board announced the decision.
"He was very apologetic and sorry, it seemed, and we are too," Walker said.
Garland said she could not comment on the nature of the allegations against the chief nor could she reveal who made a complaint, if anyone.
A personnel committee made up of four people including the mayor, town administrator, town clerk and department head of the issue at hand investigate and discuss personnel issues when they arise.
Since this incident involved the police department head, he was not part of the discussions, Garland said.
The committee takes personnel issues to the board of aldermen with suggestions about how to handle the situation, however they did not have a recommendation when it came to Ball.
Under state law, most personnel information can be kept confidential and employers aren't compelled to reveal specific reasons for disciplinary action.
This isn't the first time the Clyde governing board has had personnel issues within the police department.
Ball was hired in July 2012 to succeed long-time police chief Derek Dendy, who was fired by the board in January that year for misconduct. However, the exact reasons for his firing were kept under wraps as well.
When Ball was hired, Cpt. Mike Evans, who was serving as interim chief, resigned, as well as a police officer.
Capt. Mike Lindsay will be serving as interim police chief until Ball returns. The Clyde police force is made of four full-time employees including the chief and captain and two part-time officers.
Ball did not return phone calls as of press time Thursday.