Pierce Township Police Chief Jim Smith and Township Law Director Frances Kelly have worked together trying to make their community safe. But there are concerns that Smith and Kelly may have worked together a little too closely.
"I'm asking you right here, on this desk, it looked like there was some sex going on. Do I like her a lot, yes. But there has never been and there's not going to be sex."
That is an edited portion of a 27 minute audio tape, secretly recorded by one of three Pierce Township police officers who met with Chief Smith in late May. The officers confronted the chief, describing intimate physical contact seen through a window: "I don't want to get into semantics but I think what I saw, witnessed, I think you'd agree is not something appropriate that a police chief and another township employee should be doing. I agree."
The three officers also sent e-mails to township trustees. One describing how he "saw Mrs. Kelly sitting on the edge of the chief's desk with her skirt pulled up to her waist, with the chief thrusting in and out between her legs." Chief Smith sounded sort of like former President Bill Clinton, struggling to define what sex is. The chief said this was not sex, because both he and the law director had their clothes on. "There is not going to be sex, if you want to say sex as in penetration, things like that. That's not gonna be, because that would be cheating. We did get carried away, yes, but there is not going to be, we both made that clear."
The officers told the chief he should do the right thing and talk to Township Administrator Dave Elmer. Elmer told Local 12 there is no criminal investigation. There is no formal administrative investigation. The trustees will handle this as a personnel matter. They will do so in executive session as the law allows. The chief's attorney Mark Mezibov says "We dispute the accuracy and truthfulness of what the officers claimed they observed. He says people are jumping to conclusions on this."
Mezibov says it's his understanding Chief Smith is not going to retire, and will return to work. The township administrator says it's premature to speculate on the chief's return.
The next township trustees meeting is Tuesday. Trustees did not have the secret audio tape before. But now, because a judge has ruled the tape public, they can have it ... and pass judgment on what's discussed. "Was it inappropriate? Yes."
It appears both the chief and the law director did not want word of their relationship to get out.. on the tape, the chief asks the other officers if what they all say will stay in the room. And according to an e-mail from one of the officers, the law director asked that officer to dispel any rumors ... saying she and the chief were very close friends but there was nothing going on between them.
We did speak with Law Director Frances Kelly. She had no comment, other than saying attorney Mark Mezibov's response speaks for her as well.
We tried contacting all three township trustees but were only able to reach one ... Greg Conrad. Conrad would not comment on the allegations because the case is still in front of them, but he did say Smith has been a very effective police chief, and Kelly has also been an effective law director.