The City of Allen is now operating without a city clerk or police department.
Allen Police Chief Thomas M. Gearheart resigned from his position last week, citing the city’s “current situation” and concerns about his reputation as his reason.
“Due to the current situation within the city government I do not feel association with the City of Allen is beneficial to me, or my reputation,” he wrote.
He would not comment on his resignation, which came about a week after a regular city meeting during which Commissioner Elmer “Fudd” Parsons repeatedly called for his firing. He suggested that Gearheart had already been fired, but City Attorney Beth Shortridge explained that, in a commission form of government, personnel actions are handled by the commission.
Gearheart reported that he did not work for several weeks because he was unsure about whether Allen had insurance that would cover him on the job. At the meeting, commissioners learned that the city telephone and Internet had been disconnected, as well as the city’s gasoline card. Gearheart reported that he had to pay for the gas for the city’s police vehicle at least twice.
After that meeting, Gearheart reported that the city fell into “disarray” after former Clerk Krystal Spurlock quit in June.
“It’s like this, over the last couple of years, I have essentially gotten used to the way they operate down there, and it’s not gotten any better. It’s continually gotten worse and I don’t look for it to get any better,” he said.
Commissioner Josh Kinzer reported that Gearheart “will be greatly missed” in Allen.
“Chief Gearheart made it clear in his letter why he was choosing to resign,” Kinzer wrote in an email. “I personally think the city lost an excellent chief and his service will be greatly missed. I encourage all citizens of Allen to please come to meetings of the commission and let their voices be heard in regards to the city and its many issues.”
Kinzer suggested dissolving the city during the last commission meeting.
The commission budgeted $178,700 in its budget in May, but when the final budget was approved in June, commissioners slashed that amount by nearly $98,000, giving the city $81,000 in funds for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
At that meeting, commissioners agreed to take no pay for the upcoming fiscal year, Parsons agreed to work for the city for free for half of the year and he and Woods agreed to buy gas the city needs for the maintenance department in the fiscal year. The commission also agreed to lay off a maintenance employee and cut hours for Gearheart and Spurlock to 20 hours per week. They also eliminated all funding for city streets and voted to end the medical air transport contract that city has funded for years and eliminated the contingency fund.
Those decisions were made in June after commissioners learned about a letter from the Kentucky State Auditor’s office that informed Allen of a new state law that requires the withholding of all funds from cities that are not compliant with auditing requirements.
State law requires Allen to submit an audit for ever odd-numbered year, but Allen has not submitted an audit since 2010, when it turned a 2008 audit over to the state.
In response to an open records request this month, the Kentucky Department for Local Government reported that Allen must submit audits or financial statements for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 fiscal years and a uniform information financial report for the 2018 before it receives state funds.
Attempts to obtain comments from other Allen officials were not successful.