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Landis Manager Hosey will not serve as police chief after Isenhour’s retirement

By Liz Moomey
liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

LANDIS — Town Manager Roger Hosey has asked Landis Board of Alderman to alter plans that involved him eventually becoming the town’s police chief.

According to Hosey’s original town manager contract approved in August, he would take over as police chief once current Chief Kenny Isenhour retires at the end of the year.

But during the board’s meeting late Monday night, Hosey asked the board to amend his contract and remove his ability to step into the chief’s position after Isenhour retires, which was formally announced Monday night.

Hosey and Isenhour are discussing who will be the new police chief, and Hosey says he is confident it will be an internal promotion.

“We had enough controversy in Landis these few years, and I think the best thing for the town would be for me to step back from that role,” Hosey said to the outgoing board. “I want to remain a member of the police department, however, I’m respectfully requesting the board to consider passing the amended contract.”

When first negotiating his contract, Hosey said he wanted to hold dual roles as the police chief and town manager. That may have been too progressive, Hosey said.

Hosey said he had a conversation with new Mayor Meredith Smith about the perception of being both the town manager and police chief.

“I know my own integrity,” he said. “I know my own priorities. I know that wouldn’t have been a conflict. However, I would have never been able to overcome the perception some members in the community that there wasn’t a conflict there.”

Former Town Manager Reed Linn served as the town’s fire chief while he was the top staff member in the town. He is currently a subject of a State Bureau of Investigation probe of embezzlement of town funds. However, Hosey has previously contested the notion that that Linn serving as a department head and manager would serve as a cautionary tale for the future.

The state’s Local Government Commission, however, offered concerns over Hosey’s multiple positions. When Hosey was selected on Aug. 5, he was town manager, interim finance officer, deputy police chief and information technology network manager. The town later hired Diane Seaford as its finance officer. And Hosey also said in an August interview he would provide some IT duties for the town on an as-needed basis for small projects.

He ended his position of IT network manager on Aug. 6, according to his personnel file.

Hosey said he made the police chief decision on his own and that it was not something forced upon him. 

Another perception Hosey says he wanted to avoid was the law enforcement being politicized through the fact that he could have been town manager and police chief.

“I know myself. I know my integrity. It’s not something I would ever do. It’s not something I have ever done,” Hosey said.

He continued, “I don’t want to put them in the position of that misperception of that being the case.”

Despite the police chief change, Hosey’s salary will remain the same at $87,000 a year. His severance package is also the same.

In August, Hosey said the estimated salary savings would be up to $30,000 if he were to hold both roles as manager and police chief. The plan was to hire a new officer with the savings. 

While they left his salary unchanged, the town board on Monday approved a change to one of Hosey’s “fringe” benefits. The contract originally approved on Aug. 5 stated “the town shall provide the use of a suitable unmarked patrol car for official use and commuting to residence of manager.”

The new contract states “The town shall provide the use of a suitable unmarked patrol car for official use and commuting to residence of manager. Should manager for any reason cease to remain a sworn law enforcement officer, or, at manager’s option, decline the use of a town-provided vehicle, the town agrees to pay manager a monthly-vehicle allowance of $500, to be paid on the regular payroll schedule.”

Hosey said he would use his own vehicle.

Isenhour will retire on Dec. 31 after nearly 40 years of service. Mayor Mike Mahaley recognized Isenhour for his dedication and service to the Town of Landis.

“We have been through a lot in the last year, and he has been a tremendous part of helping us through it by serving as interim town manager,” Mahaley said. “He is a great man and friend, and I know everyone will really miss seeing him around Landis. We wish Chief Isenhour the very best in his retirement.”

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