The Grand Haven Tribune submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the personnel file of former Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Chief Roger DeYoung to try to answer that question.
(You can read excerpts from the file in the Related Files (PDFs) below this story.)
The Tribune also requested a copy of the separation agreement between DeYoung and the two municipalities he served, but was denied that information. The Tribune is appealing that decision, noting that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in nondisclosure.
DeYoung, who has not responded to any requests for comment, resigned as police chief on Feb. 24. Spring Lake Village Manager Chris Burns confirmed that date was DeYoung’s official last day, although he had not been in the office since Feb. 14.
All parties signed a confidentiality clause as part of the separation agreement, so Burns has also declined to comment on the reason for DeYoung’s resignation.
“Mr. DeYoung was an at-will employee of the village, as am I,” Burns said. “At any time, either party can choose to end the employment relationship at which time a separation agreement is negotiated. In this particular case, Mr. DeYoung submitted his resignation, which was accepted by the village.”
DeYoung had worked for the department since 1988 and had been its chief for the past 10 years. He served under five village managers: Eric DeLong, Andrew Lukasik, Ed Koryzno, Ryan Cotton and Burns.
All of the reviews in DeYoung’s personnel file show that he was meeting or exceeding expectations in all categories every year until Burns took office in 2012.
The key exception was in late 2008 when he was suspended for operating a work vehicle after he had been drinking alcohol. The car went off the road in some slush and became stuck in the snow. An acquaintance stopped to help, and the unmarked police car lurched forward and struck the truck that was pulling it out of the snow.
DeYoung admitted that he had been drinking at the time, but believed he was under the legal limit. He also admitted that he had a drinking problem and agreed to attend counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous, and undergo random drug/alcohol tests.
DeYoung also signed a Last Chance Agreement with the village and city, which allowed him to remain police chief, but spelled out that he would be immediately terminated if he violated the agreement.
Burns was asked if DeYoung violated the Last Chance Agreement, but she declined to comment.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.