LaFayette Police Chief Kenny Vines is retiring. Mayor Barry Moody announced the move during Monday’s LaFayette City Council. The council approved a motion to accept Vines’ retirement request at the meeting, but several comments were made regarding the circumstances surrounding the decision.
Vines’ retirement comes after Councilman Mike Ellis introduced documents at the January 26 council meeting pertaining to the divorce proceedings of Chief Vines. Ellis had distributed to the mayor and council copies of the document just prior to the start of that meeting.
Ellis stated that during the divorce proceedings, Vines had presented false documents and committed perjury. He said that on January 20, 2015, Circuit Judge Ray Martin had fined Vines $100 and ordered him to serve five days in jail, which was suspended with the payment of the fine. He then called for Vines to be placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation by an independent source regarding the charges.
The motion died due to lack of a second. Due to the short notice, Mayor Moody said that the charges would be investigated and addressed.
On Monday, the situation was addressed.
Mayor Moody began by explaining why the council wanted to take the time to investigate.
“Documents were presented at the last council meeting concerning Police Chief Vines’ divorce decree which had been issued only four working days before the January 26th meeting,” he said. “ I and most of the council were aware of the divorce proceedings but were unaware that the final decree had been issued and had not had time nor the opportunity to thoroughly review the 11-page document and sort out the personal matters from the matters that might affect Chief Vines’ ability to perform his duties for the city.”
Moody further explained that Chief Vines was attending a conference at the time of the last meeting and was unavailable to respond.
“I am personally reluctant to act on any personnel matter until I have had an opportunity to review the information and discuss any concerns with the employee,” Moody said. “At the last council meeting, because of the serious nature and the newness of the information, the council and I deemed it wise to fully and carefully consider all additional relevant and appropriate information prior to making any decision as to the proper course of action to be pursued.”
Moody said he had spoken to Vines over the course of the investigation and discussed his ability to perform the duties of police chief. One of the biggest issues was the District Attorney’s concern with Vines’ involvement in any future police investigations.
“Police Chief Vines told me that he felt it would be in the best interest of the City of LaFayette, his family and himself to retire from his current position as police chief,” Moody said.
The retirement will not take effect immediately, as Vines currently performs many administrative duties. This will give the city time to advertise the position and Vines has agreed to assist with the transition. Vines’ roll will be limited to administrative activities necessary to provide the mayor and council with information necessary for a successful transition.
It was clearly a difficult move for the council members present to make. Several spoke out about it. Councilman Ellis, who originally brought the issue before the council and has been outspoken over the past two weeks about the decision not to immediately suspend Vines, was absent from Monday’s meeting.
“We don’t need to ignore the fact that the man gave 27 years to the city and he deserves the consideration and the decency to handle this in a manner that we are handling now and not to be nailed to the wall,” Councilman David Ennis said.
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