Greer to serve solely as police chief once new administrator hired


Executive Editor

Crestwood City Administrator Don Greer will serve only as the city’s police chief once a new city administrator is hired.

Greer, who has been serving as both city administrator and police chief since December 2002, told the Call that he had been contemplating returning solely to his police duties for some time.

“Several weeks ago, Mayor (Roy) Robinson and I had a conversation. He reiterated his campaign discussions with regard to too much power and doing more than one job and he indicated to me that it was his preference that I go back to being the police chief. I told him at the time I was ready to do that. It’s something I’ve been contemplating for quite a few months, actually,” Greer said.

Robinson was elected mayor in April, defeating Tom Fagan, a former Ward 4 alderman who had been elected mayor in August 2004. During the campaign, Robinson said that Greer should not continue to serve as both police chief and city administrator.

In a campaign flier, Robinson stated, “I will separate the duties and powers of city administrator and police chief. I will do this at no additional cost to the city. The current arrangement bestows too much power on one individual. And I will put an end (to) $830 per month auto allowances.”

Aldermen discussed the change in Greer’s duties during closed sessions on July 27 and Aug. 20. During the Aug. 20 closed session, aldermen voted 6-1 to approve Greer’s returning to his full-time duties as police chief and discontinuing his city administrator duties when a new city ad-ministrator is hired and begins work.

The motion by Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding, which was seconded by board President Tim Trueblood of Ward 2, also stated, “Mr. Greer’s compensation and benefits to remain the same except that his car allowance will continue only until three months after the new city administrator begins work or July 1, 2006, whichever is later.” Greer currently receives an $830 per month car allowance and will continue to do so under the terms of the approved motion.

Besides Breeding and Trueblood, those voting in favor of the motion were Ward 1 Alderman Richard LaBore, Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel, Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe and Ward 4 Alderman Joe O’Keefe. Ward 2 Alderman Jim Kelleher was opposed. Ward 3 Alderman Don Maddox was present earlier in the closed session, but was absent for the vote.

An earlier motion made by Maddox and seconded by Miguel that called for Greer to return to his full-time police chief duties was defeated 5-3. The difference in the failed motion involved Greer’s compensation. The failed motion stated, in part, “Mr. Greer’s compensation and benefits to remain the same except that his car allowance will continue only until three months after the new city administrator begins work.”

Besides Maddox and Miguel, LaBore voted in favor of the motion. Opposed were Duwe, Kelleher, Trueblood, O’Keefe and Breeding.

Greer, who has served as the city’s police chief since 1990, was named city administrator during a closed session Dec. 10, 2002. Board members voted unanimously to have Greer replace longtime City Administrator Kent Leichliter.

During an interview last week, Greer said he is proud of the progress the city has made and praised the efforts of city employees.

“I’ve always said that or always believed — maybe I haven’t always said it — but I’ve always believed that the work that I do doesn’t necessarily pay immediate dividends,” he said. “The goal is for somebody, five years from now, 10 years from now, say: ‘I’m glad they did that’ or ‘Thank God, somebody got that straightened out.’ One of my frustrations is to continue to listen to people talk about cutting this and cutting that. Doesn’t that mean that we’ve done a really good job because we’ve reduced our expenses significantly and nobody knows it? I mean services haven’t suffered. That was a rather lofty goal, but we’ve reduced our operating expenses. With declining revenues, we’ve reduced our operating expenses sufficient to get us in the black (in the general fund) and we hadn’t been in the black for quite a few years on an annualized basis. I’m enormously proud of the work this staff has done.

“I’m very satisfied with the work that has been done. I’m sure there are many who disagree with me and who are not satisfied … It’s a good city. These employees, I’ll compare them to any I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. This staff is just incredible — what they go through, how quickly they turn around with quality information. What we’ve had to go through in this short period of time …,” he said, referring to the six audits that have been conducted during his tenure as city administrator. “We’ve created a purchasing policy … We’ve restructured operations. We’ve reduced a number of costs without anybody noticing the change in services and the internal controls, the changes in our accounting structure. In fact, in a number of cases, we’ve vastly improved the response to the public. Nuisance inspections. I think that’s one primary example that gives us a better opportunity to deal with the commercial end of this. We’ve improved our economic development. We’ve sped up the process. We’ve made it much more user friendly.”

Greer praised the support he has received from the board.

“I appreciate the support the board’s given me to get that accomplished,” he said. “The mayor wants somebody else to do the job. I told the board in December of 2002 if they ever didn’t want me to do this, all they had to do was say so. I never had a desire to give up my position as chief of police. It was not part of the deal. I didn’t come looking for the job. They came to me.

“He (Robinson) doesn’t want me doing the job, that’s fine. I’m OK. I’m going to retain my responsibilities in the Police Department. Maybe I can get back to working less than 65 or 70 hours a week and do whatever I can to help the city continue to move forward,” he added.

Asked if he had any hard feelings, Greer said, “No. Ac-tually I asked for it. I don’t think I’m talking out of school. The majority of the board was not very receptive to this decision and I was queried quite extensively with regard to are you sure this is what you want to do? No, I have no hard feelings. Why would I have hard feelings? The mayor has been very honest with me with regard to his position on this matter and I’m ready …”

Greer said he believes Crestwood today is much more open than it has been in the past.

“Crestwood’s more public today. I believe philosophically and professionally that that’s the way local government … needs to be operated. What it does is it creates an opportunity for people to be much better informed, to have more say in what goes on and whether you agree or disagree with what they believe, people have more of a voice,” he said.