By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
The village of Melrose has dismissed Police Chief Jennifer Dreiling. City officials cited job performance as the reason. She said it’s retaliation because she refused to date Melrose Mayor Lance Pyle.
“The Village Council was not pleased with her performance and, as a probationary employee, has released her from employment with the village,” said Pyle, who also serves as the Curry County manager.
Dreiling said Pyle “made several sexual advances towards me. The final time I turned him down, his attitude changed completely towards me, he began making false accusations about my work and I was terminated (Monday),” she said.
Pyle said Council members made the decision to fire Dreiling after she missed a quarterly DWI task force meeting she had been instructed to attend.
Participation in the DWI task force is vital to community funding and is an issue the Council takes seriously, he said.
Pyle said there were other job-performance issues as well.
But Dreiling said the issue goes beyond job performance.
Over the past few months, she said Pyle has invited her to working dinners and tried to use them to create romantic encounters.
Dreiling said Pyle asked her to marry him several times and interfered with her attempts to date others by making it seem he was her boyfriend.
Dreiling said the last time Pyle asked to see her socially was on Dec. 27, and she ignored his request.
After that, Dreiling said Pyle withdrew his support from her and stopped responding to work related e-mails, phone calls and text messages in a reasonable time frame.
Pyle said he has a girlfriend and made no attempt to date Dreiling.
“This just is crazy,” he said.
Councilman Tuck Monk said the Council made the decision to terminate Dreiling. He said he disputes Dreiling’s allegations against Pyle “entirely.”
“This decision (to dismiss Dreiling) was made by the city council with absolutely no input by the mayor,” he said.
Dreiling was hired June 2, 2007, at a salary of $28,000 and served as the only officer for the community of about 700 that lies about 20 miles west of Clovis.
Curry County Sheriff’s Deputy Dean Marney has been hired to work part-time in the village, Pyle said, until a replacement can be found.