By Leah Sander
CLAYPOOL — Claypool Town Marshal Ben Sanders was a main topic of the last Claypool Town Council meeting.
Though he was not present at the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21, Sanders figured prominently into conversation at the meeting.
Part of the discussion included whether Sanders would even stay on as Claypool town marshal. A rumor had been circulating about him leaving.
Town Council President Benny Stage Jr. said he spoke with Sanders about the rumor.
“He told me he did get a job offer,” said Stage. “It is a substantial job offer. Like I told Ben, I said, ‘I hope that you stick around.'”
“He did not put in his notice,” Stage continued. “He did not say he took the job. I told him I hope he sticks around. He’s got big footprints to try to fill, which you know I don’t want to have to do that. … I also understand that if he decides to do something like that, he would have to weigh the benefits for his family.”
Part of the issue is the retirement plan the town offers. The town hasn’t been able to put money in it in recent years.
Stage said he wished to have an executive session with Sanders next week to discuss his future with the town.
Leesburg and Operation Pullover
The potential Leesburg police partnership and Sanders working Operation Pullover also came up at the meeting.
At its last meeting on Aug. 17, the council voted to stop Sanders from working Operation Pullover as the town’s insurance didn’t cover it.
Operation Pullover allows officers to do extra patrols to catch violations like drunk driving. Sanders’ work with it would take him outside the town.
“Since the temporarily stopping OPs, we have found out through our insurance company, they have looked at it again and came back and said they will cover it … as long as he is doing that for the county and he can run for backup for other municipalities,” said Stage. “So at this time, OPs is not an insurance issue.”
Town Council Member Liz Heiman asked what cost the town incurs for allowing Sanders to work OP.
Stage said the cost was about $700 annually. Stage also said he inquired about where Sanders was working OP in the county.
“It averaged out between 75 to 80% of his OPs is run south of Warsaw, between Silver Lake, here, but south of Warsaw,” said Stage. “The last three tickets that he pulled was on the overpass. So his police car, even though he may not be on duty for the town, it is seen in the area, which to me is a benefit.”
Town Council Member Gene Warner said he still didn’t like that Claypool taxpayer money was being spent on Sanders working outside the town.
As for the Leesburg partnership, Stage said he’s been talking with Leesburg Town Council Member Doug Jones.
“As far as insurance, our insurance does not cover the liability and they’re saying because it has something to do with entering into a signed contract with another town that has no law enforcement,” said Stage. “With that being said, Leesburg has taken upon themselves to go through with their insurance company to get insurance that would cover it.”
Potential terms have Leesburg paying Claypool $5,000 per year for Claypool Police to work roughly 6 to 8 hours a week, or about 384 hours of patrol services a year, in Leesburg.
No decision was made on the Leesburg situation, but council members did approve 2-1 allowing Sanders to work OP. Stage and Heiman voted for it, and Warner was against it.
The council’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19.