By Victor Milani
Based on the comments by Northfield Village Mayor Jesse Nehez during Wednesday ‘s Northfield Village Council meeting (see below for full video), we now have a better understanding of the situation involving the lack of activity in appointing a new Northfield Police Chief. They can’t seem to come to a decision! Northfield Village has had an Officer in Charge for the past five months in Lieutenant Jamie Mackie, who was appointed to that position by Mayor Nehez when former Chief Mark Wentz was suspended with pay, and later resigned (see related article).
Mayor Nehez decided the first of the year that Northfield Village was in need of a Police Chief, and set out to replace Wentz. Mackie, along with Northfield Village Sergeant John Zolgus and Cleveland Heights Police Captain Geoffrey Barnard eventually were the three finalist for the job. Evidently , based on Nehez’s comments last night, his choice was Sergeant Zolgus. The Mayor needed four affirmative votes from Council to confirm his choice. Obviously, Mayor Nehez became disgruntled when he evidently informally polled council, and found he didn’t have the support, or four votes necessary for confirming Zolgus as the next chief. Council has remained tight lipped as to who they prefer for confirmation. All discussion on the issue have been in executive sessions, where certain dialogue must remain private. For now, Northfield Village doesn’t have a Police Chief. Mayor Nehez could appoint Zolgus as the new Officer in Charge, but not give him the title of Police Chief. He could also submit another name for Council’s approval (which I don’t foresee happening). However the next Police Chief might be, he would need four yes votes from Council, and is on a one year probationary period per the charter. Mayor Nehez hopes to have the issue resolved by the next Council meeting in two weeks. Click here to see Mayor Nehez prepared statement from the Wednesday night meeting.
Video by Gary Miller