Lisbon officer, former Drug Task Force director steps down

LISBON – Lisbon police officer Dan Downard has resigned, apparently to take another job, according to Mayor Dan Bing.

Bing read Downard’s resignation letter at Village Council’s April 9 meeting in which he said he was quitting as of April 8 for “personal” reasons. The mayor said after the meeting he believes Downard has another job in the private sector.

Downard has been on paid administrative leave since late 2012 following his removal as director of the Columbiana County Drug Task Force after the state was called in to investigate possible “financial irregularities” involving a DTF cell phone being provided to someone other than DTF personnel.

Downard had been assigned by Lisbon to the DTF, and Police Chief Mike Abraham decided to place him on administrative leave pending the outcome of the state probe, which is continuing.

Council recently reaffirmed its commitment to the DTF by agreeing to continue assigning an officer full-time under a new arrangement in which county commissioners agreed to provide partial reimbursement of $10,000 and $20,000 to participating police departments, depending on whether the officer is assigned part-time or full-time to the DTF. Abraham said he has yet to decide who he will assign to replace Downard at the DTF.

In other personnel news, council announced it will restructure the contract with Village Solicitor Virginia Barborak after she asked them to do so during an executive session called toward the end of the meeting.

Under her one-year contract, Barborak is paid $8,500, plus $75 an hour for any work in excess of four hours per month, excluding attending council meetings. Barborak was also classified as a village employee, and as such, council was contributing an amount equal to 14 percent of her salary into her state retirement plan, which comes out to $1,190 annually. The employee contribution is 10 percent.

Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner said Barborak wants the contract to be with her law firm and her salary be $9,350, which will save the village $340 per year since the village would no longer be paying into her retirement plan. Legislation amending her contract will be prepared for council to act on at its April 23 meeting.

Council also voted to advertise to seek applications for swimming pool manager and lifeguards, with a deadline of April 26 for pool manager applicants and about two week later for lifeguards.