North Olmsted officials are getting their police supervisory positions filled out again.
New Captain Mike Kilbane, a 17-year veteran of the force was sworn in July 13 Wednesday afternoon. He replaces Jamie Gallagher, who became chief in the spring after former chief Wayne Wozniak retired. Both officers topped the tests for the two positions.
In addition, city officials said Jeff Medves will take the lieutenant’s post being left by Kilbane and Robert Dungan will fill the sergeant’s job being vacated by Medves. North Olmsted Safety/Service Director Scott Thomas said he hoped to have a dual swearing in ceremony for both officers sometime this week.
“We just have to coordinate and find a time that works for everybody,” Thomas said. “We’re glad to get all these taken care of.”
Gallagher has been working without a captain since taking the chief’s position in the spring.
“I’m very glad to get the help,” he said. “Mike’s a very capable officer and will be very good in the job.”
Gallagher said he’s glad to get all the supervisory positions in place.
“They’re all good officers and will help us keep in good shape,” he said. “We’re getting all the pieces in place in the supervisor’s positions.”
After being sworn in by Mayor Kevin Kennedy and having his wife Kim pin his new captain’s badge on him, Kilbane said he was extremely happy to get the promotion.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “It’s nice because Chief Gallagher has been a mentor to me in many ways. He was the shift commander for me when I was a patrolman.”
Kilbane also lauded the rest of the department.
“They’re a great bunch of people who do their jobs well,” he said.
Gallagher said the department is also working on filling patrolmen’s ranks.
He said one potential loss was averted when Patrolman Matt Beck decided to stay with the North Olmsted force instead of taking a similar post with the Beachwood City Police.
“That’s great for us that Matt’s coming back to us,” Gallagher said. “He’s a fine officer and we’re glad to have him.”
Beck was the only one of five patrol officers laid off by the city at the beginning of 2009 to help deal with the ongoing budget crunch who the city was able to bring back. The other four were all hired by other cities.
In addition, the city has not filled to date the openings left by Wozniak and a senior patrolman’s earlier this year. Former City Council Safety Committee Chairman Mark Mahoney and his successor Angela Williamson both expressed concern during city budget hearings about not replacing personnel. Mayor Kevin Kennedy said he is aware of the concerns and would work on the issue later in the year.
Thomas said the city is waiting to hear on federal grant applications similar to the ones the city received which allowed them to rehire four of the five firefighters who laid off at the same time as Beck and the other four police officers.
“We’re hoping to get a positive response on the grant requests in upcoming weeks,” Thomas said. ‘That would allow us to hire officers.”
Thomas said the city is proceeding cautiously.
“We don’t want to be in the position of laying people off after they’re hired,” he said.