The Council voted unanimously to “un-appoint” Adair, with a severance package to end with the March 25 pay period.
Adair had served as the Chief of Police in Monticello for more than 30 years, since he was appointed in June, 1985 by then-Mayor Keith Redd.
The decision came after the Council considered the results of an investigation into the handling of an emergency 911 call on December 4, 2015.
The 911 call, to the San Juan County Sheriff Dispatch, reported that Monticello Police Officer Cole Young had assaulted a man. Because a city police officer was involved, Monticello City Police did not respond to the call. It was approximately ten hours afterward before officers from San Juan County responded to the scene of the 911 call.
San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge initiated an internal investigation of the incident, resulting in the demotion of an officer and the possible termination of the dispatcher.
The City of Monticello initially placed Cole Young on leave before firing him four days after the incident. Adair was also placed on leave while an investigation was conducted.
The Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) conducted the investigation into the incident, with the intention of identifying any policies or procedures that may have been violated by officers in the department.
The results of the DPS investigation were released to the City several days before the City Council meeting.
In the meantime, Adair had completed a one-month paid leave and had returned to work under the direction of City Manager Ty Bailey.
Officials state that Adair’s return to work was an administrative course of action and it was the City Council who had the final say on the matter.
While the DPS report did not make a recommendation, Mayor Tim Young reports several officials made recommendations to the City Council on the issue, including Mayor Young, City Manager Bailey, City Attorney Walter Bird, and an attorney for the Utah League of Cities and Towns.
The City Council, which includes three new members who took the oath of office as the meeting began, took the recommendations into executive session and determined a course of action.
The City Council did not allow public comment on the issue. As a result, there was no opportunity for formal public input into the decision.
After several hours, the Council had reached a unanimous conclusion to terminate the Chief of Police.
Mayor Young said that the single incident related to the 911 call did not warrant the firing of Adair, but added that it was “a piece of a puzzle.”
“Chief of police is an appointed position, it is not a career position,” said Mayor Young.
“We decided we needed to start over, to start fresh,” added Mayor Young.
It was an emotional evening for many of the elected officials.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the chief, both professionally and personally,” said Mayor Young. “The fact that he has had this position for so many years is evidence of the great job that he has done.”
The next step in the process is to seek applicants for the two open positions on the three-member police force. Other law enforcement agencies are helping to cover shifts for the city.
The Mayor will appoint the new Police Chief, with the approval of the City Council.
“We want to create a positive environment as we move forward,” said Mayor Young.