A 21-year-veteran of the East St. Louis Police Department has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, according to police Chief Jerry Simon.
Per the police union contract, Sgt. Mario Fennoy will be paid his regular wages pending the outcome of the investigation. Last year, his base salary was $69,381, but with overtime, he was paid nearly $200,000.
City Manager Daffney Moore on Thursday confirmed the city's move but declined to talk about any specifics regarding the investigation. She said because the investigation is ongoing, she was "not at liberty to talk about anything specific to it."
Fennoy could not immediately be reached for comment.
A recent News-Democrat story showed that some East St. Louis police officers amassed large amounts of overtime last year, which enabled many of them to make at least $100,000.
Fennoy topped the list of officer salaries, earning nearly $200,000, largely through overtime pay.
Moore declined comment on whether any other officers were being investigated.
Fennoy is one of a handful of local police officers who has "credibility issues" with the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office. St. Clair County prosecutors have, over the years, stated they will not prosecute cases involving certain police officers who have problems with their credibility.
In July, Fennoy responded to the credibility issue. He said, "That was 12 years ago. Since then I have earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, a master's degree in criminal justice administration and I am planning to pursue a law degree soon."
Several people sign off on overtime pay before it is added to an officer's paycheck — the shift commander, the division commander and the chief, according to Moore.
Moore began working for the city of East St. Louis in September and said a previous city manager would have been the one to oversee some of Fennoy's overtime pay.
Moore said she found abuse of overtime pay in the Police Department when she became city manager, so she issued a memo outlining how to enforce proper use of police overtime. She said she wants to ensure everyone has a chance to work overtime when it is needed. Also, she said the city is planning to hire four or five police officers in July, which would help the city cut back on overtime pay.
Simon, the chief, also issued a memo, saying because the officers work 12-hour shifts, they can only have four hours overtime per shift — they must rest at least eight hours between work periods.
Fennoy, 47, was hired in 1996. He has worked as a patrolman, a detective and a desk sergeant. He also has served as an administrative assistant to a former chief, Michael Hubbard, who preceded Simon. When Fennoy was placed on leave Wednesday, he was working as the desk sergeant in the jail.
Simon said Fennoy is a supervisor and that the department "will have to do some more restructuring."
Simon declined to comment on the investigation.