A new police chief was officially hired Monday after city council approved changes to two amendments in Oberlin’s employee policy manual.
Clarence “Ryan” Warfield, a former Elyria police sergeant, is set to begin Nov. 20 with a salary of $100,000 per year.
His start date was approved after council voted to give city manager Rob Hillard more discretion when offering new hires vacation time. Previously, he only could approve 15 days of annual vacation time, and Warfield asked for 25.
The amendment states it will allow Hilliard to “to make adjustments to the length of time requirements as he or she may deem to be appropriate under the circumstances.” and it’s flexibility allows the city to “recruit the best qualified candidates in the future.”
The second policy amendment replaces references to observance of Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
Councilman Bryan Burgess supported the change. “It is in the city manager’s purview to approve contracts and award vacation days,” he said. “We’re granting the city manager a power I always thought he had.”
Former chief Juan Torres resigned 15 months into the job for a family medical emergency, leaving the city’s police department without a chief for almost a year.
Five listening sessions were held with community members, business owners, and police officers, but three Oberlin police sergeants — Patrick Durica, Melissa Lett and Steve Chapman — questioned whether the hiring process was fair to all candidates.
They sent a letter to council earlier this month calling Warfield the “least qualified candidate” for the job.
Chapman said the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the union that represents the sergeants, will meet with Hillard to “discuss the flaws in the hiring process,” but no date has been scheduled.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.
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