SAUK VILLAGE | Sauk Village trustees on Tuesday voted 4-1 declaring invalid Village President Lewis Towers' appointments on Monday of Robert Fox as police chief and Henrietta Turner as village manager.
Trustees Rosie Williams, Ed Myers, Derrick Burgess and David Hanks voted to declare the appointments invalid. Trustee Enoch Benson voted against the motion.
The board also approved a motion to initiate litigation against Fox for violation of village code and violation of a separation agreement he signed in October. The vote was 4-1, with Benson voting against.
Towers immediately said he would veto the motions as soon as possible.
“I talked to Chief Fox and asked him if he would return to the position of police chief if I appointed him,” Towers said before the meeting began. “He told me he would, so I appointed him to chief on Monday.”
But according to Hanks, there is no position to appoint Fox to.
“The position of police chief was eliminated by ordinance in October,” Hanks said.
Fire Chief Alan Stoffregen was named head of both the Police and Fire departments in that October ordinance.
Trustees voted in October to eliminate both the position of police chief and village manager that took effect Thursday.
But, on Monday, Towers reappointed Fox as police chief and Turner as village manager with Fox showing up for work that day.
On Oct. 28, Fox signed an agreement to decline the appointment to the “position of fire chief of Sauk Village." Fox received a check for $2,982 as part of that agreement.
According to Fox, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, the agreement was for the position of fire chief only.
“I never gave up my position as police chief,” Fox said. “I have been the police chief each and every day.”
Not so, according to Hanks.
“First, there is an ordinance on the books that the position of police chief was abolished Nov. 1,” Hanks said. “So he could no longer be police chief as of that day.
“Second,” Hanks continued, “the agreement referred to the new position of fire chief, which is a combination of the old police chief and fire chief duties.”
Towers maintained that he appointed Fox because he was not part of any agreement between Fox and the board.
“I have no knowledge of any agreement,” Towers said. “What I know is that we need a police chief, and Chief Fox is a great one.”
Village Attorney Michael McGrath delivered a letter to Fox earlier in the day that reminded him of the agreement he signed, and that “any intrusion” into police headquarters would be “considered a trespass."
Hanks said Fox would be arrested and charged with trespassing if he tried to go into his old office.