Investigator monitors Lowell police for audit compliance

2014-03-29T19:14:00Z 2014-03-29T22:37:10Z Investigator monitors Lowell police for audit complianceMelanie Csepiga Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 29, 2014 7:14 pm  • 

LOWELL | The outside investigator who conducted an audit of the Lowell Police Department last year will be checking in to see if his recommendations have been implemented.

Town Attorney David Westland said Steve Pastikas plans to meet in two to three weeks with Police Chief Erik Matson, police commissioners and town councilmen as a follow to the audit completed last April.

The town did not contract with Pastikas. It was through Westland.

Lowell Clerk-Treasurer Judy Walters said Westland's May, 2013 bill included a fee of $11,815 for the investigation and audit of the Police Department.

Specific reasons for the audit ordered by the Town Council were never given, but councilmen spoke in general terms of low morale.

Last March, former Police Chief John Shelhart chose to retire with little notice. Last April, former assistant chief Scott Tokach retired. At that time, Council President Edgar Corns, R-5th, said Tokach would have been asked to leave.

A request last week by Councilman Craig Earley, D-1st, to hold a work session with the Police Commission in advance of Pastikas' visit failed to get majority support.

"We haven't had a meeting in months on this. ... I don't know where we are at with it," he said.

Council Vice President Don Parker, D-3rd, said, however, he believes it would be best for Pastikas to meet with Matson and police commissoners first. The council and police commissioners could meet afterward to discuss the findings, he said.

Councilman Phillip Kuiper, D-4th, who initiated the discussion on the audit follow-up, said he is anxious to hear publicly what Pastikas has to say about three councilmen appointing two active law enforcement officers to the commission, a measure he did not support.

Commissioner Michael Mears is the Lynwood police chief. Commissioner Ray Borchert is with the Lake County Sheriff's Department.

Walters also will set a public hearing to re-establish the cumulative capital improvements fund, a move approved by the council.

Walters said it does not mean her office is loosening the reins on capital funds, but, rather, making more funds available, if necessary.

When there is a reassessment, there is an adjustment in the fund, Walters said. By re-establishing the fund, it will be raised to the maximum rate.

"That doesn't mean we will use it," she said.

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