We hate to think about the tens of thousands of dollars Caseyville has spent trying to fire Police Chief Jose Alvarez. Trustee Wally Abernathy estimates the cost so far at $150,000 and that it might double. Whatever it ends up being, it’s a lot more than Alvarez earned during the few months of actually being on the job.
One of the crazier costs comes from a judge ordering the village to pay Alvarez back pay to May because the board voted to fire him without a hearing. The law didn’t require it. However, the village promised to provide Alvarez a hearing then didn’t, shooting themselves in the foot.
At least this costly, extended process has clarified that firing Alvarez was the correct decision. When he finally got his hearing on Monday, four of six trustees voted to fire him — one more than in May. Department operations have smoothed out and police officers’ morale has improved with Alvarez gone and Acting Chief Frank Moore in charge. Trustee Ron Tamburello, himself a former chief and one-time supporter of Alvarez, switched his vote and agrees the change has proven to be a good one.
Let’s hope that this time the firing is final, and that there are no more legal battles to fight. Caseyville is moving on; Alvarez should also.