Girard mayor to decide on officer

GIRARD – City administrators are expected to decide by late next week what, if any, disciplinary action will be taken against a patrolman who has been on paid administrative leave since investigators raided what they are calling an underage drinking party at his home earlier this month.

Mayor Jim Melfi said he plans to review information from a predisciplinary meeting for Patrolman Larry Neely that was held Wednesday.

“It’s a serious matter, and I’ll be sitting down with our safety-service director and legal council to make a determination,” said Melfi, noting he was not at the meeting.

Police Chief Jeff Palmer, who was at the meeting, said both sides presented their recommendations. However, he declined to elaborate. He said the final decision is up to the administration.

He said the matter “is being considered a serious offense that carries serious consequences.”

Neely, 39, became the subject of internal and criminal investigations after police raided a party at his Mosier Road on Feb. 8. Several teens, ages 17 and 18, are facing misdemeanor charges. Palmer said the investigation is ongoing, and there is a possibility an adult female, who has not been named, could also be charged.

Investigators found that several teen parties had been held at Neely’s residence over the past six to eight months on a regular basis, Palmer said

Although Neely is not facing any criminal charges, internally he is accused of misfeasance, nonfeasance, dereliction of duty and failure to follow police department work rules – all of which he has been disciplined for in the past, the chief said.

City personnel records show that Neely, who was hired almost six years ago, has an extensive disciplinary history with the city police department. Officials said most of the problems have been related to job performance issues dating back to 2009.

He has been suspended without pay on several occasions for one, three and 10 days at a time.

Neely remains on paid administrative leave pending Melfi’s decision.