January 10, 2019 11:02:33 AM
The Caledonia Board of Aldermen moved quickly to name an interim town marshal and could have a permanent replacement for its previous marshal, Ben Kilgore, within a month, Caledonia Mayor Mitch Wiggins said Wednesday.
In a special-call meeting Monday, aldermen approved Kilgore's resignation, installed deputy marshal John Peavy as its interim marshal and approved advertising for the permanent position.
"If everything goes right, we could vote on a permanent marshal in February," Wiggins said.
Kilgore, who had served as the town marshal since 2008, resigned Friday following a dispute over a town policy change prohibiting deputies taking their patrol cars home. He was placed on paid administrative leave after he criticized the change in a Facebook post.
In Peavy, the town will turn over the role of marshal to a familiar face.
He has served as one of the town's four part-time deputy marshals since 2012, less than a year after he retired from the Columbus Police Department where he worked for 33 years in a range of roles, including patrol, criminal investigations and narcotics.
"I hope it will be a smooth transition," said Peavy, 63. "I'm very familiar with the town and the people and I'm excited to have this opportunity."
Wiggins said the town will advertise the marshal position for two weeks then begin to review candidates.
"I do think it will move quickly," Wiggins said.
Wiggins said while the marshal position pay rate is $65,000, Kilgore's situation was unique.
"Because he was in the state retirement system, he could only work for either half-pay or half-time," Wiggins said. "So, as full-time marshal, his pay was $32,500."
Wiggins said there was "wiggle room" in the budget to pay a new marshal the full salary.
Peavy, who said will apply for the marshal position, is also in the state retirement system, which again would reduce the salary paid by the town if he is chosen for the job.
"That might be a factor in my favor, but for me, the most important thing is that I want the job and I have the experience that I believe makes me a good choice," Peavy said.
The town marshal is the only full-time position in the marshal's office.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is email@example.com.
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