Exeter chief resigns Fairview officer position

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Mayor: ‘He was a good employee while he was here’

Due to a pending hearing for his removal from the police chief position with the city of Exeter, Kenen Martinez has resigned a police officer position he held in the city of Fairview.

Sid Oliver, Fairview mayor, said Martinez resigned and was not fired from the $10 per hour police officer job.

“He was here a couple of months and resigned on [Aug. 6],” Oliver said. “I’m guessing the trouble at Exeter had something to with it, but I don’t know. I had no issues with him, and he was a good officer while he was here.”

Martinez said the decision to resign did have to do with the Exeter situation.

“Fairview didn’t want to be drug into the mess in Exeter,” he said. “Being an at will position over there, with no legal protection or recourse, I felt it more honorable to resign.”

In Exeter, Martinez has a hearing with the city council on Aug. 17 to consider his removal. The hearing will allow Martinez to speak on his own behalf about the city’s notice and rebut the claims made against him in a notice of hearing regarding removal.

Jim LeCompte, Exeter city attorney, said the meeting will be open to the public, but Martinez said the city is trying to make it closed, citing it as a personnel matter. In a public post on his personal Facebook page, Martinez said he intends to waive his right to a closed hearing.

There are five sections in the city’s notice regarding reasons for the chief’s removal, including misuse of city funds, dereliction of duty, acting in a manner for the sole purpose of furthering self interest or inconsistent with the interests of the governing body or public, threatening and harassing of city employees, and insubordination.

A detailed account of the city’s notice, along with Martinez’s responses to the city’s claims, may be found in the Aug. 8 edition of the Cassville Democrat.

Martinez, 31, has been chief of Exeter for nearly two years, hired in August 2016. He graduated the police academy at 18 and began his first law enforcement job at 21. He has previously been employed as an officer with the Wheaton Police Department, as the Barry County jail supervisor and as a deputy for the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office for five years, where he received two national awards from the National Sheriff’s Association. He also currently has a reserve commission with the Barry County Sheriff’s Office.

Martinez is still on active duty in Exeter, as he was not suspended by the city council. He is paid $10 per hour and said he caps at 40 hours each week, with anything over that becoming volunteer work.

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