Wayland selects Garnsey as new police chief

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

Mark Garnsey of Rockford has been tapped as the new police chief of Wayland.

After going into closed session on Monday, Feb. 4, Wayland City Council accepted a recommendation by city manager Josh Eggleston to make a conditional offer for an employment contract with the Newago police officer.

Garnsey is a consultant to the Newago police chief, Public Information Officer and accreditation assessor for the department.

He was one of four finalists for the position being vacated by Stephen Harper who has accepted a position as community impact pastor at Chapel Pointe church in Hudsonville.

The city had received between 12 and 15 applications for the position and selected four finalists who attended a meet and greet on Jan. 14 and were interviewed on Jan. 15.

Other finalists were John Neph of Ortonville, an officer with the Lake Orion Police Department and Detroit Water Authority; Eric Speese of Byron Center, an officer with the Wayland Police Department; and Brian Berg of Freeland, a police officer with the St. Charles Police Department and owner of Adopt-A-COP Solutions, Inc.

The police chief position offers a salary of between $72,000 and $76,000 annually. A final offer will be made after negotiations, background check and psychiatric evaluation.

“We will hopefully have something finalized in 30 days,” said Eggleston.


In other business, the council:

• Set a public hearing and second reading of an opt-out ordinance to prohibit marijuana establishments in the City of Wayland for Monday, Feb. 18. Eggleston said, if adopted, the council could come back to the table once the state licensing board adopts provisions and a more permanent discussion can ensue.

• Gave direction to move forward on preparing a purchase agreement, based on the “Nichels’ template,” for a developer to purchase city-owned property at 1065 133rd Ave., next to Great Lakes Electric. The Nickels’ template refers to the sale of 25-acres of industrial property at 1121 133rd Ave. for $20,000 to Keith Nickels and Josh Otto. Council will review the prepared agreement at a later date.

•Heard a presentation by Redevelopment Ready Community planner Karen Wieber who said Wayland’s certification is 30 percent complete and in the process of completing another 30 percent of the criteria. RRC is a no-cost program that assists local municipalities in establishing a sound foundation for development and investment to occur in the community.

• Heard a report by Wayland fire chief Joe Miller who said the department has responded to 29 calls in January, leaving only two days off. Waiting to speak, his department was toned out for sparking powerlines.

Miller said the department is getting short on daytime firefighters after five moved away but Yankee Springs has been able to assist with mutual aid. Of the 348 calls last year, 82 were for mutual aid; however, Wayland used mutual aid from other surrounding departments on more than 200 calls. Wayland has 26 firefighters and Yankee Springs has 25. Average dispatch to enroute time is 2.76 minutes and dispatch to arrival averaged 8 minutes.

Virginia Ransbottom can be contacted at vransbottom@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534.


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