Ex-chief to speak to board

Former Oak Creek police leader not revealing topic of talk

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Former Oak Creek Police Chief Guytano Farnan will speak at tonight's Town Board meeting, but officials aren't sure what he wants to discuss.

Farnan is scheduled to talk about his repayment of training costs. Town Treasurer Karrie Littman said Farnan asked to be on tonight's agenda without specifying why. The town assumes he's disputing the training costs for which the town has billed him.

Farnan would not comment on what he plans to say tonight.

The town hired Farnan last fall and paid for him to get certified by the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board. He officially began Dec. 10, then submitted a letter of resignation in mid-March. His last day was April 1, and he has since accepted a job with the Routt County Sheriff's Office.

The town's arrangement with Farnan specified that he would be responsible for the cost of his certification if he left before working a full year, Littman said. If he worked one to three years, he would have had to pay two-thirds of the training cost. If he stayed for five years, he would be reimbursed for all his training costs.

The town's policy is that employees who stay for less than a year have to reimburse the town for two-thirds of training costs, Littman said. Those costs typically are small and cover items such as a training seminar.

Farnan's training cost close to $5,000, so the town made a special agreement with him, Littman said.

After his resignation, the town decided to make him pay only two-thirds of his training costs back, as well as a few other costs. Littman said that offer was "extremely generous," and that if Farnan doesn't take it, the town might ask for the entire cost of training.

In addition to the $3,281 for training, Farnan was billed for $196 in overages on his town cell phone, as well as a psychiatric evaluation and consultation that cost $170, Littman said. The evaluation was done when he and Linda Koile, who was an officer under Farnan but now is head of the Police Department, were not getting along.

Because the evaluation happened when Farnan already was looking at other jobs, Littman said the town thought it was fair for him to pay for it.

The town's policy is to take outstanding debts out of an employee's last paycheck. All of Farnan's $1,100 paycheck was kept, bringing the total he owes to $2,268. The town has given him a year to pay that debt off at an 8 percent interest rate.

Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman said there is good reason for making employees pay back at least a portion of their training costs if they don't stay.

"We never had anybody we spent that much on training for who quit that quickly," she said about Farnan.

Also tonight, the Town Board will hear a financial report, discuss the flower barrels downtown and consider a day for the community yard sale.

The Oak Creek Town Board meets at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail scunningham@steamboatpilot.com

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