Rehire of Bourbon officer causes stir

By Daniel Riordan
Managing Editor

BOURBON — There was no question in the standing-room only crowd Tuesday night that Ben McIntyre should be rehired as a Bourbon police officer.
But the crowd became agitated and voiced its displeasure when the town’s council decided to rehire McIntyre without putting him at his prior seniority.
At last month’s town council meeting, the council accepted McIntyre’s resignation as he attempted to take on another job.
According to the town council, McIntyre returned a week later.
The council voted to rehire McIntyre and waived a probationary officer salary for him.
McIntyre admitted to the council that he made a mistake by putting the word “resignation” in the letter he sent. He said he could have just used up his vacation and sick days while at the other job but felt he was doing the “straightforward thing” by resigning.
Members of the audience, who were not asked to provide their names for the record of minutes, were unhappy that McIntyre would be rehired without his former seniority.
“He’s lived here all his life,” said one woman. “It’s just not right.”
The council, along with town attorney Mark Wagner, kept pointing to town policy in regards to its hiring and rehiring practices.
“Isn’t that what you’re elected to do?” Asked one resident. “Make decisions on a case-by-case basis?”
“Then what’s the point of having a policy?” Replied board member Les McFarland.
McFarland abstained from the vote to rehire McIntyre while other board members Larry Wattenberger and P.J. Hanley voted in favor.
After much discussion back and forth, the board and members of the audience asked Bourbon Police Chief Bill Martin what he thought about the situation.
Martin hesitated to answer and before he could, Wagner advised it best that Martin not comment on a personnel issue.
The town along with Triton schools have been working on a “Safe Routes To School” plan for more than a year. At Tuesday’s meeting, after an extended discussion, the council decided to put up signage and crossing marks on the road at the intersections of Liberty and Harris and Liberty and Thayer.
The council said it would continue to look at the issue to see if the need for a crossing guard would better help the safety of the children walking to and from school.
The council also approved engineer John Phelps and his firm to conduct a transition plan to be in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The cost of the plan is $2,500 and will look at areas in town where improvements have to be made.
McFarland noted that if the town chose not to participate in the transition plan, it would be ineligible for future federal funding.
“You ever hear the phrase ‘unfunded mandate’?” asked Wagner. “This is one of them.
Halloween trick-or-treat hours were set for the town. It will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31 with a party at the town’s park starting at 7 p.m.
To allow for ordinance violations to be handed out to vehicles on U.S. 331 in town, the board deemed that stretch of road or Main Street as in the town limits.
The procedural move doesn’t affect other town ordinances such as the one regarding golf carts.