Basalt police chief placed on paid leave
BASALT – Police Chief Roderick O’Connor has been placed on paid leave by town administrators for unspecified reasons.
Tom Smith, town attorney, confirmed Monday night that O’Connor remains the police chief but is currently on paid leave. Smith said an investigation is under way ,but he declined to discuss its nature, citing town policy on personnel issues.
O’Connor didn’t return telephone messages to his work cellphone or his residence Tuesday. Basalt town government’s chain of command is in flux right now. A new town manager was hired Monday, but Mike Scanlon won’t take the helm until early December. Former manager Bill Kane still is working with the town as a consultant. Kane selected O’Connor for the top cop’s job in September 2010. Kane declined comment on O’Connor’s status and referred questions to Smith.
Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt also declined comment and referred questions to Smith.
O’Connor was placed on paid leave earlier this month, though no specific date was available from town officials. O’Connor attended a Town Council meeting Oct. 9 and discussed the need for promotions for two patrol officers.
The police department is apparently being led by two veteran sergeants, Penny Paxton and Stu Curry, although when Curry was asked if he could be considered an acting chief he said that was a question for town administrators.
O’Connor, 63, has been with the Basalt Police Department since 2007. He was a sergeant under former Police Chief Keith Ikeda. When Ikeda planned his retirement a year in advance, he tabbed O’Connor as his replacement, and the officers in place at the time concurred. The decision was made official by Kane and endorsed by the Town Council in place at the time.
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Basalt-based furniture designer Andrea Wendel will open the exhibition “Purposeful Objects” at the Art Base in Basalt on Friday.