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City of Wathena Faced with Multiple Resignations

Help wanted. The plea is on the forefront in Wathena, Kan. following a string of resignations that were made official during Monday night's City Council meeting.
(WATHENA, Kan.) Help wanted. The plea is on the forefront in Wathena, Kan. following a string of resignations that were made official during Monday night's City Council meeting.

The planned departures include Wathena Police Chief Raymond Hall, a part-time police officer Jeremy Wisler, Wathena City Superintendent John Hontz and his assistant superintendent Jeff Clark.

They made their resignations official during Monday's council meeting, but their plans have been brewing for several weeks.

Hall said he is unhappy with the direction the city is going since former Police Chief Brian Walker was elected mayor.

Some in the community think Walker has an axe to grind. He was suspended from the Wathena Police Department in 2011 for an undisclosed personnel matter. The matter included an investigation by the Kansas Attorney General's office, but no charges were ever filed. Still, Walker turned in his badge and left the position. He was elected mayor in April of this year.

Walker declined to comment on camera. He told KQ2 in a phone interview that the resignations were voluntary and none of those leaving their positions were fired or run out.

He also attributed to the actions to "small town politics" and said he plans to keep moving forward and just stay positive.

"Not everybody's here for good. Everybody tries to do what's best for their family.  And if someone has a greener pasture, then we don't want to keep someone from moving on or doing better," said City councilman Joseph Barger.

Barger, the only one who would agree to an on-camera interview, said the City Council recently voted to increase insurance premiums and restructure vacation days for city employees. He believes that has something to do with the resignations.

"Everybody knows somebody either through relatives or friends.  Anytime you have something like that it's always going to be 'I wanted this guy' or 'I didn't want that person.'  It's part of it," Barger said.

Hall would not comment further, but said he does plan to stay on as police chief until September 3. He has already accepted a job as a deputy with the Doniphan County Sheriff's Department.

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