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Mitchell Officer Returns To Duty, Councilman Receives Back Pay, Criminal Put On Alert

Last updated on Tuesday, January 1, 2013

(MITCHELL) - In May, former Mitchell Police Chief Steven Blair, who was suspended almost two years ago, was officially back with the police department.

Blair was terminated by the city's board of works in April 2010, but judges concluded the board of works did not have the authority to hear the case because the merit board was in existence at the time.

The matter went to court, and Blair was reinstated to the force, pending the completion of fitness and training requirements. He completed those requirements and started work.
Blair was reinstated to the force after the Mitchell Merit Board dropped all charges against Blair by former Chief Jerry Presnell in January 2012.

Presnell had charged that Blair had shown a disregard and lack of respect for the police department's rules and regulations, city officials, supervisors and the public.

Merit Board President Phil Tincher was concerned because Presnell waited a year and 11 months before filing the charges against Blair. Tincher believed Presnell had a personal vendetta against the officer.

Ticher did say Blair used bad judgment in the choices he made and the board ordered a letter of reprimand be put in the Blair's personnel file.

Ferrell Awarded Back Pay

In April Lawrence County Circuit Court Judge Andrea McCord ordered the City of Mitchell to pay Councilman Everett Ferrell $12,250 in back wages Wednesday.

This ends the controversy over Ferrell's position on the council. The city filed paperwork in March for a "clear and precise direction" to end the council seat controversy.

McCord ruled that Ferrell served in good faith on the city of Mitchell's council, and was never removed from said office, and is owned his unpaid salary. Council members in Mitchell are paid $4,900 a year, issued in quarterly payments of $1,225 before taxes.

The money owed to Ferrel was for a full year in both 2010 and 2011 and partial wages in 2008 ($816.67) and 2009 ($1,633.33). McCord stated In her judgment, that no valid process was taken to remove Ferrell from office after it was discovered that Ferrell's residence was not then located in the city of Mitchell, so he was awarded the pay.

Criminals Put On Alert

Would be criminals in Mitchell beware cause a neighborhood watch developed in April is watching out for residents.

Perry Reynolds started efforts to create a neighborhood watch program in Mitchell after being a victim of thefts. Now signs are posted in Mitchell warning criminals.

The group continues to grow and meets regularly at City Hall.

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