- Pogue: New chief

Steven Pogue's duties as Seymour's new police chief began last week.

Steven Pogue’s tenure as the city of Seymour’s assistant police chief officially lasted four days.

Hired on Thursday, April 23, he held the job from the following Friday morning through Tuesday evening.

Around 7 p.m. last Tuesday, April 28, Pogue was hired as the city’s new police chief, following the resignation of Bob Paudert, who had held the Seymour Police Department’s top job for nearly two years.

When offered the chief’s job in a 3-0 vote by the Seymour Board of Aldermen, Pogue accepted.

His new duties began last Wednesday, April 29.

“This is very sudden, very overwhelming,” Pogue told the aldermen, City Administrator Hillary Gintz, City Clerk Leslie Houk and Mayor Richard Vinson at last week’s emergency meeting of the aldermen, following Paudert’s resignation earlier that morning.

“But I’m honored that you trust me to do the job, and I’ll give you my word that I’ll do my absolute best to make all of you and the community proud of our police department.”

Paudert submitted his resignation to Gintz that morning, citing no issues or trouble with the city; instead, he realized that it was time to retire and enjoy his retirement.

“I would like to thank the board for the opportunity to work with the city’s police department,” he said in a written statement that was read at last Tuesday’s meeting. “It has been a great experience for myself, and I appreciate each of the aldermen for allowing me to work here.

“I feel confident that I am leaving the police department in a good place, and I believe they will continue to move in a positive direction.”

When Paudert was hired late in the spring of 2018, he inherited a department that had been in a constant state of turnover the previous five years, an era that included three different police chiefs and two others who held acting duties.

At one point, the department was down to two officers.

Over the past two years, under Paudert’s leadership, the department’s ranks were filled, a force that now includes six full-time lawmen in Pogue, Sgt. Chase Davis, Cpl. Alan Goff and patrolmen Skylar McIntosh, Ray Rodriguez and Tyler Smith.

The city’s 24/7 coverage was restored. Stability now is a benchmark for the local force.

Last year, Paudert began working with Pogue to begin his ascent into administrative duties. For several months, Pogue has handled all shift scheduling.

After Paudert’s resignation was read at last Tuesday’s emergency meeting, South Ward Alderman Dan Wehmer asked the 23-year-old Pogue if he would accept the chief’s job if it was offered.

Pogue said he would.

At that point, Pogue was asked the leave the open meeting as the aldermen went into closed session to discuss hiring a new police chief.

North Ward Alderman William Pogue, who is the father of Steven Pogue, then addressed the board and said he was not going to participate in the closed session because the discussion likely would include his son.

“I want the record to show that I’m not taking part in any of this, not even the discussion,” William Pogue said.

“Everyone knows that I must abstain on any vote that involves Steven, but I don’t think it’s right that I even be involved in any of the discussion. I’ll remain outside until you all come back into open session.”

After about 30 minutes, the aldermen left closed session and returned to open session.

Both Pogues were asked to return.

Gintz then laid out the city’s offer to Steven Pogue.

It included an annual salary of $52,166 (an hourly rate of $25.08), three weeks of vacation per year and a standard benefit package offered to all city employees, including health-insurance and retirement plans. He also will receive a city vehicle to drive to and from work, which will be one of the police department’s two Chevrolet Tahoes.

“Steven, although your salary is charted at an hourly rate, this is a salaried position ... you need to understand that?”

Wehmer explained. “There won’t be any overtime paid. We expect 40 hours a week. How that 40 hours is worked, that’s your call. But you need to realize that in this job, you’re on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Pogue said that he understood.

“Do you want the job?” North Ward Alderman Jim Ashley asked.

He responded that he did.

“Then I make the motion to hire you,” Ashley said.

South Ward Alderman Nadine Crisp seconded the motion, and she, Ashley and Wehmer all voted to hire Pogue as Seymour’s new police chief, with his duties effective the next morning.

William Pogue abstained from voting.

Steven Pogue’s formal ceremony to be sworn into office arrives at 6 p.m. this Thursday at the regular meeting of the Seymour Board of Aldermen.

As COVID-19 safety guidelines have been loosened, this meeting, as well as all future city meetings, is open to the public. Because a public hearing will be held before the regular meeting, things get under way at 5:45 p.m.

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