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Wendy Reuer, Published September 09 2013

Dilworth council accepts police chief's resignation

DILWORTH – The city will now handle administrative duties of the Police Department here after the police chief resigned on Monday night.

The council accepted Chief Josh Ebert’s letter of resignation and settlement offer.

Ebert was hired on March 1, 2012. His original probationary period was to end on Sept. 5, but the council extended the period another 90 days at a special closed-door meeting on Aug. 29.

Ebert’s tenure in Dilworth was plagued by performance questions after a group of Dilworth officers signed a letter declaring they had “no confidence” in the chief and raised questions about his performance including scheduling, planning and budgeting.

The council met behind closed doors in February to discuss unspecified allegations against Ebert, but later said those allegations were “unfounded.”

Mayor Chad Olson said Monday he believed any past issues had been resolved.

“We’ve been working diligently as a city to make sure we’re providing professional development for all of our staff,” he said.

Ebert did not attend Monday’s meeting. He could not be reached by phone after the meeting.

In his letter of resignation, Ebert wrote, “In my short tenure as Chief, I have professionally and ethically conducted myself through difficult and challenging circumstances. I have dedicated my organizational talents to positively affect crime prevention and support innovative and proactive law enforcement services in Dilworth.”

The council agreed to pay Ebert his regular salary for another four months, or about $21,823.

Olson said a committee comprised of himself, Councilwoman Julie Nash and City Administrator Ken Parke will be responsible for Police Department administrative duties including scheduling, vacation requests and report review.

“The day in and day out operations will be handled by City Hall,” Olson said. “We’ll be able to establish immediately a shift schedule that will continue that 24/7 coverage.”

He added the city will work with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office for additional law enforcement support.

Olson expects the search for a new chief to take between two and four months.

“I think this committee should be very aggressive in their response to this situation,” council member Ryan Mullikan said of the administrative committee.

Olson hoped to meet with the city’s six officers within 24 hours of Monday’s meeting to ensure they continue the current services.

“Status quo, day-to-day our boys in blue will be out there 24/7,” Olson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530