03/14/08 — Police Chief resignation roils Pikeville

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Police Chief resignation roils Pikeville

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on March 14, 2008 2:05 PM

PIKEVILLE -- The resignation of Pikeville Police Chief Ken Barrett is causing some uproar in town, at least with one former commissioner and citizens circulating a petition for the chief's return.

Former Commissioner Johnny Weaver, who chose not to run for another term, says he believes a "vendetta" is the reason Barrett's schedule was changed.

Barrett resigns effective Mar. 31 after town officials voted to ask him to work five or six nights and one weekend a month.

Police Commissioner Al Greene said that the board did vote on the specifics of Barrett's new schedule.

Greene, who works with the civil division of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, said he believe the new schedule was fair.

Greene said that Commissioner Edith McClenny, who has voiced her displeasure over the chief's departure, actually voted for the new schedule.

"Her only comment was, she wanted to make sure that it was fair," Greene said.

Another officer in the department has complained about the number of nights he had to work, Mayor Herb Sieger and other officials said.

"We gave the option to Ken to pick the nights he wanted to work, and the nights and weekends could have coincided."

Mrs. McClenny said she was the only one who offered any dissenting opinion during the discussion of the chief's schedule.

"I never know what they're going to do next," Mrs. McClenny said.

Commissioner Vance Greeson was not in attendance because of a family emergency, officials said.

Weaver said he had seen a letter in response to Barrett's resignation, according to two officials who had both talked with Barrett.

"How can the board accept the resignation when the board has not even met?" Weaver said.

"(Sieger) doesn't want the people to know it was a vendetta," Weaver said. "He'll get in front of the town citizens and say, 'Hey, the man retired.' We're going to lose the best chief we've ever had."

Sieger said implementing the new schedule was his duty because the town board had voted on it.

Barrett said he believed it would not be in his best interest to comment on the situation, but praised the residents of Pikeville as "good people."