Police promotions highlight Duck meeting

Published 4:48 pm Sunday, July 23, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Recent Duck Town Council actions include approval of a special use permit application for 103 Amy Lane, separate contract approvals for a fiscal year audit and solid waste trash collection and personnel policy revisions.

After a typical opening of the July 5 regular session council meeting Mayor Don Kingston called for public comments. Reid Carter was the first to speak who said he has heard concerns that trash can roll out and roll back procedures are not working as intended and many cans are full and overflowing onto the street. Also speaking was Bob Wetzel, who advised that the parade and magic show were well received and well liked by many.

The first of several special presentations was by Duck Surf Rescue director Mirek Dabrowski with a short video introducing his 2023 lifeguard team.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Police Chief Jeffrey Ackerman was next and introduced Blake Cutrell as the newest Duck police officer. According to Ackerman, Cutrell has six years of prior experience as a former Tyrrell County deputy in addition to eight years as a state correctional officer and three as an EMT.

Ackerman then advised that there would be three familiar faces in his next group of officers with each moving into new roles within the department.

First up were Master Police Officers Justin Naquin and John Gilreath. Each sworn in as new police corporals..

Ackerman said Naquin came to Duck in 2018 and, with more than 15 years of law enforcement experience, has steadily risen through the career development program. Gilreath, too, is no stranger to anyone living or visiting Duck. He joined the department back in 2017, has more than 17 years of experience and serves as a mentor, leader and is an excellent trainer for other officers.

The final police promotion of the evening was for Lieutenant Melissa Clark being sworn in as the department’s new deputy police chief. Clark is another officer that came to Duck with prior law enforcement service, filling a sergeant position in 2010. Shortly after Ackerman was named police chief in 2021, Clark advanced to lieutenant.

Moving into the business portion of the Wednesday meeting, council held a quasi-judicial public hearing on a request by Rosemary Gordon for fill and grading activities at 103 Amy Lane.

According to the request, the property covers a little less than a half acre with a three-bedroom single-family residence and swimming pool and a bluff about 20 to 30 feet high adjoining the Currituck Sound. The proposed project includes a three-tiered system of retaining walls of eight, six and three feet tall with additional fill added behind each. A drainage plan has also been drafted by an engineer.

Kevin Lineberger with Millstone Marine explained that rather than one large wall the project is designed to better control water runoff and protect existing property improvements by stabilizing a bluff that has been subject to erosion in recent years.

When asked about using shorter walls instead, Lineberger advised that it was considered, but doing so would extend a system out into the sound.

Gordon added that storms have taken out several trees near the bluff and she plans to replant native trees and plants once the hill is stabilized.

At the conclusion of the hearing, council voted 5-0 to issue the special use permit.

Also approved, following a lengthy discussion, was a resolution revising town personnel policies related to tuition assistance, vacation leave accrual and retiree health insurance.

As explained by town manager Drew Havens, the recommended changes add prior service with other government agencies to the vacation leave calculations, language for funding a stipend for retired employees to use to pay a portion of their health and dental insurance premium, and establish a tuition assistance program to encourage employees to further their formal education with the amount determined annually based on an approved town budget.

Other business for the evening included approving a consent agenda with June 7 meeting minutes, a FY 2023 audit contract with Johnson, Mizelle, Straub & Murphy, LLP, to audit town financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2023, and a five-year contract with Waste Management of Virginia, Inc. d/b/a Waste Management of Hampton Roads beginning October 1, 2023 and ending September 30, 2028 for roadside and commercial solid waste trash collection.

Council also authorized an August 2 public hearing on Zoning Ordinance 23-08 establishing a definition for drug paraphernalia sales.

The proposed ordinance is intended to serve as guidance for staff interpretation of whether a business is primarily engaged in the sale of drug paraphernalia.

With no July mid-month meeting planned, council adjourned until the August 2 meeting.