Newton Falls police chief asked to resign

NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) — Newton Falls’ police chief of nine months could be ousted by village council.

Gene Fixler has been Newton Falls police chief since October. That may change, however, after Village Manager Jack Haney and Law Director Joe Fritz pulled him into a meeting last week.

“The first thing I was told was that I no longer had support of council and that they would like me to resign and if i don’t want to resign then . . . council would have to take the steps they have to remove me,” said Fixler.

Fixler said officials are planning to remove him because he went over the allotted payroll budget of about $446,000 for 2014. He admits that his department has gone over but not terribly. Something he said was necessary

Haney and Newton Falls Finance Director Tracy Reimbold said the police chief has used 74% of his personnel payroll budget so far this year. The allotted money for 2014 was $463,000.

The city has had 13 payroll checks this year and have 14 more to go. Haney said he has issued at least three memorandums to the police chief this year: one in February, one in April and one in May, all addressing the police department’s operations and financial outlook.

“I have a responsibility to the citizens of this community to give them good police service, I have the responsibility to my officers to make sure they stay safe,” Fixler said.

Mayor Lyle Waddell acknowledged that the council is planning on doing something but didn’t have much to say when asked about it.

“I just know there’s a meeting planned and council’s the one that makes decisions, I just facilitate the meeting,” Waddell noted.

As for Fixler, he plans on staying on the job.

“I plan on serving Newton Falls for a long time to come, I certainly hope that this will all basically blow over,” Fixler said.

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