Mayor Dexter Jones, who suspended Harrell last week, reinstated the chief Monday prior to the meeting. Jones was not present at the meeting Monday due to prior engagements.
With Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Wise leading procedures, the council voted to terminate City Treasurer Kimberly Lovins. Lovins was previously employed last year by the city as deputy city clerk before being relieved of her duties due to scheduling conflicts. She was hired again in December as city treasurer after a split decision between councilmen was decided with the mayor's tie-breaking vote.
Termination was decided Monday by a vote of three councilmen with Ed Miklas being the only exception. Miklas abstained from voting citing that Lovins and Jones should have had an opportunity to speak before a decision was made.
The firing occurred during Lovins' 90-day probationary period due to an incident last week in which she allegedly left city hall during business hours without taking proper procedures. Councilman Louise Howell said that Lovins left the city office unattended and unlocked.
"I called the other three council people and they told me that they agreed with me that the city treasurer should not have walked out and left," Howell said.
After speaking with other councilmen Howell called Lovins Wednesday asking her not to return to work. Howell was then notified by City Attorney Peter Olson that she did not have the ability to take that action without a called council meeting. Lovins was notified that she was not fired at that time but did not return to work last week.
Lovins will have the opportunity to call for a name-clearing hearing within 10 days.
With Chief Harrell's suspension being lifted prior to the meeting, he did not have to conduct a name-clearing hearing but did wish to address the council with suggestions for better management of the police department.
"I am glad that I've got my job back and that, under the circumstances, it's all behind me now. I don't hold any grudges, I'm just here to do one thing and that's to take care of the citizens of Kingston and do what's right," he said.
His suggestions for making the department more effective included obtaining better police cars for officers and updating the evidence room. To do this, Harrell suggested the purchase of an inventory software that would be able to track evidence as well as property owned by the city.
The last matters Harrell brought to the attention of the council was for the department's hiring process to be directed solely by the chief, the importance of continuing education classes and the enlargement of city limits to better serve Kingston Elementary.
The Kingston City Council will meet again Monday, March 7, at 7 p.m. for its March work session.