Mason hires two new police officers

By Mindy Kearns - Special to the Register

MASON — Two new police officers were hired when the Mason town council held its most recent meeting.

Jonathan Higginbotham was hired as a full-time officer at a rate of $8.75 per hour. He is uncertified and will be riding with a certified officer while awaiting entrance into the police academy. Higginbotham replaces Norm Ferland, who was hired at a previous meeting, but did not take the job.

Also hired was Larry Freed as a part-time officer. Freed works as a policeman in Racine, Ohio, is Ohio certified, and will be taking the necessary classes to become certified in West Virginia. He was hired at a pay rate of $13.50 per hour.

The council members also gave Mayor Donna Dennis authority to enter into a contract with Police Chief Rich Gilkey, who was recently switched from an hourly rate of pay to salary. The contract will state Gilkey cannot work less than 36 hours per week, will not be paid for anything over 40 hours per week, and will receive full vacation and sick time benefits.

A police ride-along program was discussed, with details outlined for a waiver to be signed by participants. Mayor Dennis said the waiver has been approved by both the town attorney and liability insurance agent, and that those participating will be riding with certified officers and will not be carrying any weapons.

In other action, the council:

Approved a water project drawdown from Kathy Elliott of Region II Planning and Development in the amount of $36,651;

Agreed to implement a new business application form, compiled by employee Darlene Roach;

Heard a report from Chapman Technical Group that the next sidewalk phase will be bid in the Spring;

Set the town Easter egg hunt for April 8 at noon, with a rain date of April 15;

Agreed to get three estimates to tear down and rebuild the restrooms at the park;

Issued a sign permit for Beaches and Cream, a frozen yogurt shop coming to the Walmart plaza; and,

Changed hours and days for the police secretary, as well as outlined duties for the town hall cleaning attendant.

Attending were Mayor Dennis, Recorder Ciji Casto, and council members Bob Wing, Sharon Kearns, Marty Yeager and Becky Pearson.

By Mindy Kearns

Special to the Register

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who can be reached at

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who can be reached at