Beardstown chief's dismissal leaves unanswered questions

Beardstown's mayor left a number of unanswered questions surrounding the recent dismissal of the city's police chief of 10 years.

Mayor Steve Patterson confirmed Thursday that the city stripped Tom Schlueter of the title of city police chief last week.

Schlueter remains on the department's payroll. He's been on medical leave since January.

Former Mayor Bob Waters appointed the current mayor's brother Tony Patterson to serve as interim chief. Steve Patterson was elected mayor in April.

â??I didn't appoint him,â?? Steve Patterson said. â??Bob Walters replaced him with my brother as chief.â??

Schlueter and the interim police chief earned $976 per week during the first five months of 2013, City Clerk Brian "Petie" Ruch said.

Mayor Patterson couldn't divulge details of why the city dismissed Schlueter.

â??I can't get into it â?? personnel stuff â?? he's out on workman's comp due to an illness and stuff,â?? he said. â??He's still on the payroll. It's kind of a long story and I'm not sure what the whole details are. We're waiting on something from workman's comp.â??

Steve Patterson expects that he'll eventually be able to reveal why the city decided to remove Schlueter as chief.

Attempts to contact Schlueter and City Attorney Luke Thomas were unsuccessful.

Steve Patterson will select a new chief pending the city council's approval. There is no time table for the selection process, Patterson said.

Schlueter is a long-time officer with the Beardstown Police Department and succeeded current mayor Steve Patterson as chief. Schlueter is also the current president of the Beardstown's Little League Baseball Inc., according to tax records.

Brad Fox, the Little League vice president, said that he hasn't seen Schlueter in about a week. He added that he's unsure why his colleague was released from the force.

â??Right now there's just a lot of rumors going around,â?? he said.