Daily Mountain Eagle
OAKMAN -- Oakman Police Chief Keith Parker requested that he be removed from the responsibilities of his current position and be reassigned to regular patrol duty at Monday's City Council meeting.
Parker was promoted to acting chief in April following the resignation of chief John Wilson. Parker, who was hired as permanent chief in August, said his frustrations stem from the lack of benefits he has not received since his installment -- specifically not having the health insurance he was promised.
He also voiced his displeasure over the treatment he has received during his tenure to Mayor Joyce Todd and the Council.
"It seems like I am here in Oakman doing a job that no one appreciates except the people that do not come to these meetings -- which is the vast majority of the citizens in this city," Parker said. "I put my life on the line every day to protect our community, and I am still not getting the benefits that I am entitled to. I have a family to support and sick children who need to be taken care of. I simply do not feel I have been treated fairly as a police chief and as an employee of this city and because of that, I request a reassignment."
Several members of the Council agreed with Parker's frustration with his health insurance issue, stating that an action to place him on the city's insurance was previously voted upon and should have been carried out, but City Clerk Deanna Clark reported that complications with the insurance company would not allow Parker to be placed on the city's policy until the open enrollment period in March. The city's employee handbook states that an employee that is hired at full-time status is to be immediately added to the city's insurance policy.
"Keith should have been put on the insurance policy months ago," Councilor Jack Smith said. "If I was being denied my benefits like he is, I would be mad about it, too."
Despite Parker's request, each of the members stated the Council would need legal consultation before voting on the request, citing that such a move would require Parker's pay to remain the same and paying his salary along with a new chief's salary would strain the city's budget.
In other actions from the meeting:
*A motion to allow resident Debra Earnest to monitor the cleanliness of the community center after the building is rented to determine whether to return deposits to renters passed unanimously.
*Council members announced the Oakman Christmas Parade will be held on Dec. 10, at 6 p.m., with lineup beginning at 5 p.m.
Council member Steve Windham was absent from the meeting.