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Commissioner accused of tainting police chief search

Andy Ouriel • Aug 15, 2012 at 5:31 PM

City commissioner Pervis Brown Jr. defended himself against accusations he botched the search for a new police chief by excluding any officers with present or past associations with the Perkins Police Department from consideration.

“I am concerned over the numerous phone calls I received this (past) week regarding the exclusion of certain candidates from a geographical location,” commissioner Diedre Cole said during Monday’s commission meeting, suggesting Brown excluded Perkins officers because the township department investigated or arrested Brown’s son, Pervis Brown III, on several past occasions.

Those incidents involving Brown’s son range from drug trafficking to suspected shootings in which he participated in, according to Perkins police reports the Register obtained Monday through a public records request.

Perkins police lieutenants Ed Hastings and Chris Hilton, and former Perkins police Lt. Al Matthews all submitted applications to be considered for the Sandusky police chief’s position, but none of them received any response from Brown’s search committee.

The committee recently narrowed a pool of roughly 50 candidates to the top five, which Cole said includes some candidates who do not appear to be as qualified as the Perkins officers.

Commissioner Brown tainted the entire search process by unilaterally excluding the Perkins officers, Cole said, adding she asked ex officio mayor John Hamilton last week to remove Brown from the search committee. Hamilton, however, declined to do that or discuss her concerns any further.

Brown, and commissioner Jeff Smith, responded angrily to Cole’s remarks and to similar concerns from commissioner Wes Poole, who refused to vote in favor of $8,000 in additional funding to pay travel expenses and other costs to bring in four of the five top candidates, all of whom live outside the area.

Sandusky assistant police chief John Orzech is the only local candidate advancing onto the final round.

“I don’t think it’s wise to invest our money in that fashion,” Poole said.

Poole asked Brown if he could provide any documentation showing how and why the committee chose the top five candidates.

Brown did not say whether he would provide any documentation.

“If you are not comfortable with the process, change the charter,” Brown answered. “To sit up here and second guess us after asking us to do this is reprehensible.”

Brown chastised Cole and Poole for accusing him of tarnishing the search process.

“If you had enough guts, you would have come up and asked me about this, but you guys are spineless,” Brown said. “We did the job that you assigned for us to do and it’s disgusting. We did not do anything but what we were supposed to do.”

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