By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Amity Police Chief resigns; public safety fee OK'd

Chris Bolek
Chris Bolek

UPDATE/June 7:

AMITY - The Amity City Council approved a $10 public safety fee on a 4-1 vote Wednesday night. The council took about 3 1/2 hours to hear from more than 40 citizens, listen to a presentation from Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson and engage in discussion before voting.

The council, which was considering either keeping its own police department intact or contracting with the sheriff's office for law enforcement services, considered three options.

One was to impose a $15 monthly fee to address department needs and hire an additional officer in about one year. Max Walker made a motion in favor of that option. Dawn King, chair of the police committee, provided a second.

At that time, Rudy van Soolen, a former police chief in the city, asked to amend the motion and reduce the monthly fee to $10. It passed, with William Daley, King, van soolen and Walker voting yes and Joshua Simonson casting the no vote.

Caralyn Miller did not attend the meeting. She did submit a letter that was read by Mayor Michael Cape into the record. She favored keeping the police department intact.

What has to be determined is if the fee is going to be imposed upon water/sewer accounts only or by the living unit throughout town. That would guarantee that residents of an apartment complex, for example, all pay, even if their water/sewer bill is covered by their rent.

An ordinance related to the fee will now be drawn up. It must be approved by the council before it takes effect.

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AMITY - Police Chief Chris Bolek has resigned after less than five months on the job.

He has said he will remain with the city until the end of the year to assist with whatever transition occurs from a law enforcement standpoint, according to City Administrator Justin Hogue.

Bolek, retired from the Newberg-Dundee Police Department, came to Amity after Dan Brown retired at the end of last year after almost 15 years leading the agency. Brown previously spent 17 years with the McMinnville Police Department, leaving as second-in-command.

"Chief Bolek has served the Amity Police Department and citizens well and has been instrumental in assisting the city attain its goal of enhancing the professionalism of the Amity Police Department," Hogue said.

He started with Newberg-Dundee in 1985 as a patrol officer and worked as a detective, patrol sergeant and captain leading up to his retirement.

Bolek was then a member of the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office court security staff, responsible for ushering inmates to and from the jail for their circuit court appearances.

Three individuals applied for the Amity position, including the department’s second in command, Sgt. James Clark. The other applicant was from out of state.

A seven-member panel interviewed the candidates. The panel then recommended Bolek to the city council, which approved the hire.

Bolek issued this statement regarding his decision.

"I have weighed my decision to resign heavily and it comes down to my assessment of the needs and challenges of the Amity Police Department. I have provided policing service recommendations for the city council and will support their decision.

"During my brief tenure we have accomplished updated training, being granted AED’s, (automated external defibrillator) and a review of personnel practices, to name a few.  Amity police members clearly have great care for the community.

"It is my hope that whatever decision the city council makes, they know I have attempted to meet their goals and direction within the available resources.   The city of Amity is a great town.:

Bolek said he appreciates the time he has spent in the position, and the opportunity he was afforded to lead the police department.

The council decided late last year to continue operating its own police department after listening to a proposal to contract with the sheriff's office. Citizens demonstrated strong support for the current department.

"The ability to adequately support a police department does not come without financial cost," Hogue said in a report to the council.

Continued discussion of a public safety fee is on the agenda when the council meets at 7 o'clock tonight in the community center, which adjoins city hall.

Clark, who encouraged citizens to attend the meeting, posted a message on his Facebook page. It reads, in part:

"No matter your opinion, it is important your voice is heard! I know myself and my family feel truly blessed to serve this community as long as we have."

Hogue wrote in his report that discussions on the state of the department arose during the 2018-19 goal-setting  and budget committee meetings after analyzing the current budget and realizing the department is understaffed and underfunded.

A public safety fee has been determined to be the best option for  helping fund the department. The tentative plan is for the fee to be absorbed by sewer/water customers. City staff recommends three options to the council for consideration.

* Retain the department and impose a $15 monthly fee to address department needs and hire an additional officer in about one year.

* Retain the department and impose a $25 monthly fee to address department needs, begin the process of hiring a third officer immediately and a fourth in 2019-20.

* Disband the department, impose a $3 fee and negotiate a contract with the sheriff's office to provide law enforcement service for the city.

Results of a survey showed 63 percent of 94 respondents favor contracting with the sheriff's office. The remaining 37 percent favor retaining the department.

Sheriff Tim Svenson is expected to attend tonight's meeting.

Hogue said he's had conversations with Bolek about his future with the department. He said he wasn't caught off guard by the decision to resign.

"I don't want him to go," Hogue said. "He works as hard as anyone I've ever seen."

Bolek has expressed to Hogue that he wants what is best for the city and the police department, whether that means keeping the department together or contracting with the sheriff's office.

"I'm fine either way," Hogue said. "We've just got to do a better job for the citizens."

Bolek's resignation and the trio of public safety fee options have been discussed in length on the Amity News and Community Facebook page.

See Friday's News-Register for additional details.





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