Wayland city selects four police chief candidates

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

The City of Wayland will be hosting a public meet and greet reception for new police chief candidates on Monday, Jan. 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Jayda Gale Distillery, 152 S. Main St.

City manager Joshua Eggleston said during the Monday, Jan. 7, council meeting the city had received between 12 and 15 applications for the position. Of those, four were selected for interviews.

Current police chief Stephen Harper is retiring after serving since 2013. Harper has accepted a position as community impact pastor at Chapel Pointe church in Hudsonville and is leaving the city post in February.

The candidates are:

John Neph of Ortonville, an officer with the Lake Orion Police Department and Detroit Water Authority.

Eric Speese of Byron Center, an officer with the Wayland Police Department.

Mark Garnsey of Rockford, a consultant, accreditation assessor and Public Information Officer with the Newaygo Police Department.

Brian Berg of Freeland, a police officer with the St. Charles Police Department and owner of Adopt-A-COP Solutions, Inc.

Following the meet and greet, interviews will be held throughout the day on Tuesday, Jan. 15, in council chambers at city hall.

In other business, Eggleston gave council members a draft ordinance to opt out of allowing marijuana dispensaries within the city limits. While council members are anticipated to make a decision of whether to opt-in or opt-out at the next council meeting, Eggleston said the draft opt-out ordinance stipulates the city must revisit the ordinance once the state has issued guideline regulations.

The Michigan Department of Licensing And Regulatory Affairs is required to create a process to license recreational marijuana businesses in 2019.

In November’s election on Proposal 1, the statewide ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana and adopt the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, the City of Wayland voted to pass the proposal by 897 “yes” votes to 654 “no” votes.

If choosing to opt-out, voters can override the council’s decision and only cities that have a marijuana establishment or microbusiness will receive a portion of taxes collected under the proposal.

Allegan County Clerk Bob Genetski updated council members on this year’s elections saying voter turnout in the City of Wayland was nearly 70 percent in the Nov. 7 general election and nearly 30 percent in the August Primary Election.

The General Election not only included Proposal 1 but also a mayor’s race and three city council seats.

The next council meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 22, due to Martin Luther King Day on Monday. The council will have a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the city’s water/sewer rate study. The regular meeting is at 7 p.m.

Virginia Ransbottom can be contacted at vransbottom@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534.


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