Scott Fitch Swearing in

Tony Dunfee, president of Nelsonville Council, leads Scott Fitch in his oath of office prior to be appointed interim Police Chief in the city.

NELSONVILLE — Nelsonville Police Department will be under the leadership of Interim Chief Scott Fitch for the next few weeks, Council confirmed Monday night.

Fitch was appointed unanimously during a special Council meeting held June 29, broadcasted on the city’s Facebook page, following a lengthy executive session used to question Fitch about his experience and other aspects of the chief position.

On Friday, City Manager Scott Frank noted Fitch’s experience as a Special Agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, as well as a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

“He brings us a lot of experience,” Frank said last week. “He comes highly recommended, and I’m very, very excited to have him on board.”

Fitch was appointed on a temporary, emergency basis beginning Thursday, June 25 until the emergency council meeting could be convened.

The chief position will be advertised for, alongside three full-time officer positions and a few part-time officer positions.

Frank said he has received a “hefty amount” of people expressing interest in joining the department now, which he called “exciting.”

Councilwoman Linda Watkins’s resignation letter was also read and accepted during the meeting, although the four remaining members of council quibbled over her wording and reasoning for resignation listed in her letter.

“Motion to accept that obnoxious letter — I find very insulting. I would say that I would imagine the three people who voted for Scott (Frank) are probably the people she is referring to, Scott being the management,” Sherman said. “You know, I think it would be good enough to say ‘I resign’ and that’s it.”

Watkins’s letter stated she did not agree with the city’s current trajectory, and expressed that threats had been made against her on social media.

“I do not feel I can work with certain people on council and within city management,” her letter continued. “I feel like there is a certain faction in this city trying to take over, for what I believe is their own personal gain and not the betterment of the city. I cannot be a part of the body that allowed this to happen and face the citizens who voted for us.”

Member Carla Grant offered some temperance on the matter.

“Just can we please respect everyone’s opinions, and can we respect that?” She admonished.

“I still say it was insulting,” Sherman asserted.

That leaves Members Dan Sherman, Greg Smith, Carla Grant and Cory Taylor, with Anthony Dunfee as Council President. Wanda Johnson submitted her resignation letter last week, but did not cite a reason. Letters of interest for the two open council seats will be accepted through July 10.

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