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Published: Wednesday, 1/25/2006

Sylvania Township: Trustees seek new police chief

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania Township trustees are considering the manner in which they should seek a new police chief in the wake of the unexpected resignation of Joe Valvano, Jr.

The chief announced his resignation "effective immediately'' at the end of giving a routine report to trustees at their regularly-scheduled meeting last week.

After the meeting he said there were differences between him and two recently-elected trustees and referred to a conflict over personnel assignments in the police department.

He added that the two new trustees - Dee Dee Liedel and Pam Hanley - have been elected and have a right to act as they see their abilities.

"I just decided to resign,'' he said.

"I've got four little grandkids to chase around,'' he added.

Ms. Hanley, chairman of the trustees, said the panel did not direct the chief to do anything specific in terms of assigning personnel and that his resignation had not been anticipated.

She said Capt. Rob Boehme will be in charge of the department's day-to-day operations until an interim or a replacement chief is named.

Captain Boehme said that although taking over came as a surprise, he has filled in for Chief Valvano and some of his predecessors in the past.

"It's not something I haven't done before,'' he said.

"In this time of transition, I see my role as keeping the operations of the department as they have been.''

He said he had issued a notice to all personnel that there will be no changes in procedures or individual responsibilities.

"Any problems that may come up will be dealt with on an individual basis,'' Mr. Boehme added.

Ms. Hanley noted that the township also is seeking an executive search firm with the aim of replacing township administrator Brad Peebles.

She said it's possible the trustees will ask whatever firm is chosen to also look for candidates for the chief's job.

Although that's a possibility, she stressed that no decision has been reached on how to replace Mr. Valvano and the procedure will be discussed by trustees this week.

Mr. Valvano was hired in 2003 after trustees fired Chief Gary Copeland, who had just returned from a three-month leave of absence to attend the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.

He had been chief on a temporary basis while Mr. Copeland was in Quantico but was named to the post in May.

Mr. Valvano retired in 2000 from Owens Community College, where he was an instructor in various criminal justice courses since 1974.

When he took the post with Sylvania Township, he had been spending much of his time in Florida and in a house on a lake in Michigan.

After announcing his resignation, he said he and his wife will leave for Florida next month.



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