Canton Police Chief Dean McKimm will retire early next year and become director of the Canton Communication Center. The safety director says McKimm, who had been set to retire in 2013, is the logical choice for the job.
Police Chief Dean McKimm is retiring in February and will be hired as the director of the city’s dispatching center.
McKimm, 55, will head the Canton Communication Center. At the suggestion of Safety Director Thomas Ream, City Council recently voted 9-3 to create the post, which redefines and expands a current slot.
Dissenting were Council members Mary Cirelli, D-at large, Bill Smuckler, D-at large, and Thomas West, D-2.
A lieutenant who oversees the dispatching center, is retiring. The recent legislation puts the CANCOM director under the safety director’s authority.
McKimm started as a patrolman with the Police Department in 1979, ascending to captain before becoming chief in 2003.
“A need emerged in the communications center and my time as chief is limited,” he said, noting he was scheduled to retire in February 2013, when he would complete his eighth and final year in the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program, a lump sum payment and optional benefit for police and firefighters.
“The police department is a great place to work and I look forward to the new position,” McKimm said. “It holds some challenges ... and a little less stress, and that’s not a bad thing, either.”
McKimm, whose annual salary is $93,115 as chief, will be paid $74,000 a year as CANCOM director, roughly the same as the CANCOM supervisor, Ream said. The maximum salary for the director’s position is $94,126, according to the ordinance establishing the position.
“He has a whole career in public safety and many years in administration and supervision of the Police Department,” Ream said. “And that’s exactly the kind of experience we need in the position.”
The chief said he anticipates holding the CANCOM director’s job for less than 10 years. He had planned to retire in 2013 until Ream offered him the new job.
“The pool of qualified applicants for this position, because of the uniqueness involved with the knowledge of public safety, with the knowledge of a state of the art radio system, is a very narrow field,” Ream said.
He said that McKimm’s retirement as chief will save the city roughly $120,000 in salary and benefits annually. Under the union contract, one of the captain positions will be eliminated when it is vacated, which is expected to happen following the chief’s retirement.
The four police captains are expected to take the civil service test for chief, Ream said.
The retiring and rehiring of public employees into the same or similar positions, a legal practice referred to as “double dipping,” is harshly criticized by some segments of the public.
Ream said he does not consider McKimm’s employment situation to be double dipping. The chief will start over on the vacation scale, Ream noted, instead of receiving eight weeks he now receives.
Page 2 of 2 - “From a retire, rehire perspective it’s to a different position with different salaries (and) different benefits,” Ream said.
McKimm said that he doesn’t “really consider the idea I’m going ... to shorten a career in order to work a few extra years somewhere else (as double dipping).”
McKimm said he believes the move is “nothing but a real win-win situation for everybody involved — this is definitely not a one-sided deal.”
Smuckler, the at-large councilman, said he opposed the creation of the CANCOM director’s post because he believes the position would be unnecessary if the city administration would agree to plans for countywide dispatching.
Citing figures provided by the Stark Council of Governments, Smuckler estimates that consolidated dispatching would save the city around $400,000 annually. The city administration has questioned that figure.
“It’s got nothing to do with the chief,” he said of his opposing vote. “It’s got nothing to do with the man, it’s got nothing to do with who they’re hiring, it’s got everything to do with the issue with not making government efficient.”