McCollom takes over as PTC’s top cop

With 2 councilmen taking aim at police budget, Chief Clark decides it’s time to leave

UPDATED for print Wednesday, July 9 — Peachtree City Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark is on his way out from being the city’s top cop.
Clark, who served nearly six years in the position, has tendered his resignation effective July 31 and is currently on leave, according to City Manager Jim Pennington.

Assistant Police Chief Will McCollom (right, above, riding in this year’s Peachtree City July 4th parade) will serve as interim police chief while the city searches for Clark’s replacement, officials said.

Clark has not yet returned The Citizen’s voicemail seeking comment. There is no word on his future plans.

Pennington in a news release Monday said that he accepted Clark’s resignation with regret.

“He has been a supportive member of our executive leadership team,” Pennington said. “My best wishes to him and his family in their future endeavors.”

Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch said the city has “an outstanding police department” and she knows the police staff will maintain that level of service under McCollom.

City Councilman Mike King signaled during recent budget hearings that the police department faced extra scrutiny for its portion of the city budget.

And City Councilman Terry Ernst has some history with Clark. Ernst was a long-time command staff officer when, in 2012, Clark eliminated three captain’s positions, including Ernst, who was a 19-year veteran of the department. Ernst then ran for City Council and was elected in 2013.

Both Ernst and King voted against an expansion of the department’s K-9 division this past April, marking an attempt at the first real curtailment in the department’s growth since Clark arrived five years ago.


Clark’s support on the City Council in any budget crunch was at best 3-to-2.

Clark (left, in a file photo) was rapped by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April 2012 as the agency was conducting an investigation into gender and disability discrimination claims filed by former police staff assistant Lisa Ficalore. The EEOC chief sent a warning letter to Clark for engaging in conduct “which has the effect of controlling or intimidating witnesses who could be required to testify during the investigation.”

The city later settled the case for $300,000.

The EEOC’s investigation determined that Clark “openly discussed” Ficalore’s disability and “his frustration” with her due to the disability and “his desire to discharge her on the basis of her usage of medical leave for her disability,” according to the EEOC finding.

“The evidence further indicates that Ficalore was often singled out for retaliatory reasons thus creating a hostile work environment,” according to EEOC’s December 2012 ruling. “Lastly, evidence indicates that Ficalore’s coworkers were threatened and intimidated by Clark when they supported her allegations of disability discrimination and unlawful retaliation.”

McCollom, hired by Peachtree City in September 2012, previously served as the Deputy Police Chief in Delray Beach, Fla. where he worked more than 22 years before retiring and taking the police chief’s job in Tequesta, Fla. in the same county where Clark formerly worked: Palm Beach.

On his application for employment with the city, McCollom noted that in Tequesta, a departmental reorganization helped cut administrative costs by 24 percent while improving operational efficiency.

McCollom also noted that he developed a community policing methodology for Delray Beach that helps arm citizens with education “to ensure the citizens can act and will act as guardians against decline.” The program offered extensive training on “resource identification and how to use resources available to them. In the area this was implemented crime dropped and property values increased.”

McCollom lists a master’s degree in public administration from Nova Southeastern University in addition to a variety of professional training including the FBI national academy and several other classes for police executives.

===============================================

EARLIER ONLINE VERSION UPDATED 5 p.m. Monday

Peachtree City Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark is on his way out from being the city’s top cop.

Clark has tendered his resignation effective July 31 and is currently on leave, according to City Manager Jim Pennington. Assistant Police Chief Will McCollum will serve as interim police chief while the city searches for Clark’s replacement, officials said in a news release this afternoon.

Clark has not yet returned The Citizen’s voicemail seeking comment earlier today.

Pennington said that he accepted Clark’s resignation with regret.

“He has been a supportive member of our executive leadership team,” Pennington said in the news release. “My best wishes to him and his family in their future endeavors.”

Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch said the city has “an outstanding police department” and she knows the police staff will maintain that level of service under McCollom.