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Article updated: 9/16/2013 10:06 PM

East Dundee approves police chief contract

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East Dundee inked an employment agreement with its longtime police chief who had been working the last several years without a new contract.

Monday night, the board approved the agreement with Terry Mee, East Dundee's police chief since 2006. The vote to approve the deal was unanimous.

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"It's heartening to have that show of support and that indication of confidence that we, collectively within the police department, are doing what we have been sworn to do, which is deliver a professional level of police service to the community," Mee said.

Under the agreement, Mee will receive an annual salary of $108,142, contributions to his municipal retirement fund, a late-model vehicle for business and personal use, four weeks paid vacation, health benefits and a $40 monthly cellular phone allowance. The deal expires April 30, 2017, and is retroactive to May 1, 2013.

Mee made around $97,000 annually up until a year and a half ago when he received a 2 percent raise with the rest of the police department, according to Village Administrator Bob Skurla.

Given the impact Mee has had on the police department, solidifying his continued employment with the village was a no-brainer, officials said. The police force is comprised of 12 full-time officers and seven part-time officers.

"He certainly has the experience for the job, he has shown that he can effectively command a police force," Village President Lael Miller said. "He has come to us with a lower budget every single year he's been there."

Mee has been working without a new contract since 2009 and was essentially an at-will employee, officials said. In 2010 then-Village President Jerald Bartels relieved Mee of his duties, pointing to a looming financial crisis in the village.

Back then, Bartels emailed trustees, legal counsel and village staff announcing Mee's removal and the appointment of Lt. Mike Blahnik to acting chief, but did not indicate why he was removing Mee in the emails. The village attorney later ruled Bartels improperly dismissed Mee from the post because he did not document his reasons for dismissing the chief. As a result, Mee was never technically removed from the job.

Bartels later made several attempts to establish a new contract for Mee but they ultimately went nowhere.

Miller, a former trustee, unseated Bartels in the spring elections. Once in office, he wanted to ensure the board moved to retain Mee.

"He's the right guy for the job, so I have no hesitation and no reason to not bring him back," Miller said.

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