Hartley, Iowa police chief's termination divides town - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Hartley, Iowa police chief's termination divides town

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A Siouxland police chief is out of a job, and controversy over his firing is dividing his hometown.

Mark Younie served as the police chief in Hartley, Iowa for nearly two years until he was fired last Friday.  He says the termination came without any warning at all.
 
Younie says the Mayor of Hartley, Clayton Pyle, called him during lunch on Friday to tell him there would be a last-minute staff meeting that same afternoon. When Younie arrived at the meeting, he says the Mayor fired him in front of his two officers, in a meeting that lasted about twenty seconds.

He says Clayton Pyle sent him an official letter documenting the reasons for the termination the next day. In the letter obtained by KTIV, Mayor Pyle says Younie "refuses to acknowledge his authority over the police department" and has "demonstrated an unwillingness to recognize the Mayor's authority."

Younie says he's not sure where those claims are stemming from.  "I had no inkling it was coming. I never had any due process, any reprimands, counseling, statements. I was never made aware that there was anything wrong. If there had been I would have corrected those actions," Mark Younie, former chief of police in Hartley, IA said.

In the documents, Pyle also cites complaints from community members, saying Younie hasn't effectively enforced certain city ordinances. Younie says he can't believe that there would be complaints from the community, due to all the support he's received since his firing. He's filed for a public hearing, and only hopes that he'll get his job back. "I absolutely want my job back. Like I said, the support that I've been getting from the community has even reinforced that even more that I was doing my job properly here in town. I think we can still work together and move on from this disagreement and continue serving the people of Hartley," Younie said.

We did try to contact Mayor Clayton Pyle, but we were not able to get in touch with him. We also asked Hartley's city administrator, attorney, city council members, and Mayor pro-tem Kevin Snider for comment, and all said that they were uncomfortable addressing the matter at this time.

Jordan Kerr, a current member of the police force, was appointed as the interim police chief. The city is still working to schedule the hearing, but it may show up on the city council meeting's agenda for this coming Monday night.

Younie's friends and family said they would be at that meeting Monday to show their support for Younie in the wake of his termination.
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