The Washington Times-Herald

January 12, 2013

Town of Elnora may hire interim town marshal

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

ELNORA — The Town of Elnora is looking into hiring an interim town marshall to replace longtime marhsal Ron Hooker, who was fired just after the new year.

The firing included Hooker and four of his reserve officers last week during a special meeting of the Elnora Town Council. Both Hooker and Town Council President James Mathies confirmed the dismissal on Friday.

But questions have arisen as to why Hooker was dismissed. Hooker said there was no reason given for his dismissal.

Mathies disagreed. He said a termination letter, with four reasons for the action, was given to Hooker on the day he was fired.

In a news release provided by Elnora Clerk/Treasurer Judith Stedman, four charges were listed in Hooker’s termination letter. The charges include: neglect of duty, neglect or disobedience of orders, conduct injurious to the public peace or welfare and conduct unbecoming an officer. No evidence was attached or discussed in the release.

Hooker does have an appeal process and said he plans to get his job back. He would not comment until after he meets with his attorney.

Mathies could not also comment on the firing because he sits on the appeal committee. The appeal is set for Jan. 28 in an executive session.

“Since I sit on the appeals board, I have to refrain from comment,” Mathies said.

In the meantime, the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department has helped with law enforcement in Elnora.  Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit said Friday he has told his deputies to make extra patrols around the town, but there has not been much activity in Elnora.

“We’ve only received a few calls,” Harbstreit said.

Mathies said discussion will begin during the council’s regular meeting on Monday on an interim town marshal. He said there are a few who have expressed interest in the position.

“I don’t know how far we will be taking the discussion,” Mathies said. “We want to keep the town protected as best as possible.”