Perry Township trustees vote 2-1 to fire police chief; Pomesky says no contact on decision

PERRY TWP. – With little to no explanation as to why, trustees voted late Tuesday night to dismiss the township's police chief who had been on paid suspension since mid-August.

The Perry Board of Trustees, following multiple closed-door meetings that totaled more than three hours, agreed 2-1 to remove Chief Mike Pomesky from his full-time post. Trustees Lisa Nelligan and Matt Miller were in favor of the chief's removal, while Ralph DeChiara Jr. voted against the move.

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"I just didn't agree with it," said DeChiara Wednesday morning about his vote against removing Pomesky. "We all make our choices, and that was mine."

Interim Police Chief Chad Guist, a Perry Police Department sergeant, is to remain in his current position for the foreseeable future. He has about 24 years of service with Perry police and has expressed an interest in the full-time job.

Pomesky was placed on paid, administrative leave Aug. 16 by trustees, who voted unanimously on that move following a closed-door discussion. His salary was approximately $83,000 a year.

Pomesky emailed a comment Wednesday afternoon to The Independent, acknowledging that he was abruptly told by trustees a few weeks ago not to report to work.

"After proudly and honorably serving as Police Chief for over 13 years, and 21 years of service in Perry Township law enforcement, the Board of Trustees abruptly chose to prohibit me from reporting for duty by placing me on leave," Pomesky wrote.

"That leave is going on two months, now. As of Wednesday ... I have not been informed of a removal or any other official action."

Pomesky added that he had no further comment at this time.

Information lacking on Perry police chief's removal from office

No information was given Tuesday night by Perry trustees for cutting ties with Pomesky. Officials were mostly mum on the issue after being asked specifically by The Independent why he was removed from office.

DeChiara didn't divulge any details when asked again during a phone brief conversation Wednesday.

"Once you open up the door, you get in the weeds," DeChiara said. "And I don't want to go there."

Township attorney James Matthews, who trustees have unofficially designated as the spokesman on all queries related to Pomesky's job status, repeatedly said "no comment" when asked about the chief's ouster Tuesday night.

After four, continuous closed-door meetings, officials emerged shortly before 11 p.m. and voted to dismiss Pomesky. A separate, but related, private session included the three trustees and Guist. Additional meetings involved discussion related to the naming of a new deputy fire chief and another on unspecified "compensation."

No action was taken Tuesday night regarding the three other executive sessions held by the board.

Pomesky, 46, had served as the Perry police chief since December 2009 after being hired as an officer in 2001. He was promoted to sergeant before taking over as chief.

Reach Steven at steven.grazier@indeonline.com. On Twitter: @sgrazierINDE

This article originally appeared on The Independent: Perry Township trustees dismiss Police Chief Mike Pomesky