Seligman Council fires police chief

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In a special meeting of the Seligman City Council, aldermen split the vote to fire Police Chief Randy Kalbaugh for allegedly running a speed trap along Highway 37.

Mayor Jason Raucstadt cast the final vote, terminating Kalbaugh's employment. Aldermen voting to terminate included Danny Joe Hendrix and Eric Freeman. Those opposed to the move were Latisha Pippin and Michael Steen.

Officer Mike DeWitt was subsequently offered the chief's position and accepted. Currently, the city has three full-time officers.

Raucstadt expressed concerns that officers were writing too many tickets along Highway 37, and cited "other conflicts" as the reason Kalbaugh was fired.

Two of the city's patrol officers tendered their badges in protest of the chief's firing, but one has subsequently requested reinstatement to the position.

Raucstadt also cast the deciding vote on a proposal for mayoral expenditure reimbursement.

Raucstadt offered the proposal, dated May 11, stating that the city "required the full attention of the mayor to manage numerous tasks to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of [the city's] citizens and to bring the city into compliance with various laws," and that "council should recognize that the physical time being dedicated is not properly compensated with the current monthly stipend."

The proposal calls for the mayor to be reimbursed on a weekly basis.

Those opposed to the measure were Pippin and Steen. Those approving the proposal were Hendrix and Freeman. Raucstadt broke the tie with a "yes" vote.

Aldermen also reviewed the only bid to come in on the proposed 2011 street work. Included in that project are East Roller Ridge, Jefferson Street and Locust Street.

Aldermen expressed concern over the Roller Ridge portion of the project. Half of the street is owned by the city and the other half is the responsibility of the Sugar Creek Road District. Representatives from Sugar Creek Road District have already informed Seligman officials that there is not enough funding available to work on the improvements.

Raucstadt told aldermen he would work with Road District Commissioner Connie Lloyd to see if the road district could work on ditches to help with drainage problems and other road work in return for the city paying for all the improvements.

Pending the outcome of the discussion, aldermen unanimously approved the proposal.

In other business:

* Raucstadt said he would "chunk up" the century tree at the school grounds park for firewood, saving four pieces to make clocks or plaques for city hall, the community center, the museum and library. He also said those who attended Seligman schools were also welcome to pieces of the tree.

* Aldermen approved an expenditure of $150 to wax the floors at the community center.

* Pea Ridge Vet Clinic and Dr. Gary Francis have scheduled a rabies clinic for next spring.

* Aldermen directed police officers to clock in and out on the city's time clock.

* Pippin said she is seeking grants for a tornado shelter.

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