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City wont offer police chief a separate contract
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Springfield City Council members are happy with the job Paul Wynn is doing as police chief. But they don’t want to enter into a separate contract with him.

Council members, in a 5-0 vote Tuesday night, decided not to offer the chief or any other employee who works under the city manager a separate contract.

“I have been a supporter of you through good times and bad,” Council member Kenny Usher told Wynn during the meeting. “I feel you have done a great job with this department.

“I’ve thought about it, mulled it over, chewed on it, and I don’t feel now is the time to offer a contract to a department head working under the city manager,” Usher said. “I think the city’s employment and personnel policy is more than fair.”

Council member Charles Hinely also inquired what transpired after council members instructed City Manager Brett Bennett to discuss the contract situation with Chief Wynn. But those discussions didn’t take place, and Bennett pointed to the ante litem notice as the hold-up.

“So we’ve got a city manager and a department head who can’t talk to each other?” Hinely asked.

Bennett said that was the case on the issue of the contract but not in regards to other matters.

Wynn’s attorney Craig Bonnell made a request to appear before council Tuesday night, and council members added consideration of the contract to their agenda. Bonnell filed an ante litem notice last year with the city, which is notification of intent to file a lawsuit. It led to a pointed exchange between Usher and Bonnell.

“ I appreciate your zeal for citizenship,” Usher said, “and to take part in our process. I didn’t want to deny you that opportunity.”

The ante litem notice was filed in the wake of an allegation against Chief Wynn by a Springfield citizen. A subsequent investigation found no reason or basis for the accusation.

“I don’t feel the city has done any harm to you,” Usher said to Wynn. “I feel the city has bent over backwards in this incident and has worked 100 percent to clear your name, as it should have been.