The “cowboy cop” has ridden off into the sunset.
Perkins police Chief Tim McClung resigned Thursday as part of an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit. McClung and Lt. Adolphus Matthews filed thelawsuit in 2007 against the township, trustee Bill Dwelle and his wife, Sandra Dwelle, alleging defamation and stalking.
During his tenure as chief, McClung survived several lawsuits and charges oftheft in office along with public criticism that he spent too much money equipping and training his department.
McClung was not present for the settlement announcement, which came at about 5:30 p.m. andfollowed a 90-minute executive session of the trustees.
“This kind of sounds corny and kind of sounds hokey, but I guess this is one chapter of my life closing and another one opening up,” McClung said when reached by phone after the announcement.
McClung, who was appointed chief in 1995 following the death of Richard Burrows, has no plans to try to get another job in law enforcement.
“I can see absolutely no circumstances that would lead me back into law enforcement. I’m going to do what I always wanted to do, and that’s farm,” McClung said.
In his resignation letter McClung thanked members of the department “both past and present for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the Perkins community.”
Lt. Robb Parthemore will become acting chief, and the search for a new chief will commence in the near future, trustee Tim Coleman said.
In agreeing to drop the suit, McClung and Matthews will be paid a total of $15,000 between them. McClung will also receive one year’s salary of $68,333 during the period of time necessary to vest the former chief’s pension. McClung will also receive health benefits through Nov. 30, 2009. McClung’s accrued benefits will be paid in the lump sum at the conclusion of the severance pay.
The trustees voted 2-0 to approve a resolution to settle the lawsuit. Dwelle did not vote.
After the board accepted McClung’s resignation letter, Dwelle said: “I think as a board we wish him well on the future.”
“The settlement agreement speaks for itself. If you look at the picture, it’s probably a reasonable resolution for both sides,” Perkins township law director John Coppeller said.
Coppeller said both sides had been in negotiations on a settlement since a mediation session in the spring.
Dwelle appeared happy to have the lawsuit behind him.
“Nobody is being found at fault. The parties have come together and agreed this is what they wanted to do to get this taken care of,” Dwelle said. The settlement also allows the trustees to “get down to the business of running the township,” Dwelle said.
The board of trustees will soon begin a search for a new chief.
“The board hasn’t decided exactly the best route to get to that, but we’re seriously going to look at professionalism and somebody who can lead the police department in the future,” Coleman said.
Parthemore and Matthews both went into the trustees’ executive session. Parthemore declined to comment about his appointment as acting chief, a dispatcher told the Register. Matthews also declined comment.