Lake Orion Village Council approves contract with new police chief

Mark Amundson to takeover LOPD top job on July 22

By Jim Newell
Managing Editor
 LAKE ORION — The Lake Orion Village Council approved the employment contract with new police Chief Mark Amundson 5-1 during its meeting on Monday.
Council Member Michael Lamb cast the lone nay vote, saying that while he did not have anything personal against the new chief of the Lake Orion Police Department, he believed the department was “unsustainable.”
Council President Jerry Narsh, a former Lake Orion police chief, made the motion to approve the employment agreement upon the recommendation of village Manager Darwin McClary. The council previously voted on June 10 to hire Amundson.
“I want to congratulate Mr. Amundson for coming to the village. I’ve reviewed all his stuff, he’s highly qualified. He appears to be a wonderful individual and a great catch. I’m going to vote no on hiring him because I don’t think our police department is sustainable,” Lamb said. “So, I want to make sure that it’s not construed as any kind of misgivings against the village manager, who did a wonderful job in selection, and the new police chief, who is a wonderful candidate. I just don’t believe our police are sustainable.”
Amundson’s first day on the job is scheduled for July 22 pending successful completion of all background work.
“Congratulation to Mark Amundson as incoming police chief. I can speak on behalf of a lot of residents that we do like them and we do like the police,” said council President Pro-Tem Teresa Rutt. “One of my favorite things about being in the village is having our own police department and getting to know them, different officers, and having a personal police service here.”
Amundson becomes Lake Orion’s fourth police chief in the past 14 months. He replaces interim police Chief Thomas Lindberg, who was hired March 11.
Lindberg took over after former Chief Todd Stanfield went back down to a lieutenant’s position after a closed-door meeting with McClary and the council. Stanfield took over as police chief in December 2023 after serving as acting chief for months after former Chief Harold Rossman retired on May 1, 2023.
Some residents have claimed at council meetings that they are circulating a petition to disband the Lake Orion Police Department. While the LOPD does have a couple full time officers, the village has been contracting with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to provide additional patrols and cover shifts in the village since December while the LOPD is trying to rebuild its force after several police officers resigned.
Amundson spent 20 years working for the City of Henderson Police Department in Nevada in four different positions, according to his resume. These roles include police lieutenant, crisis/hostage negotiation team leader, police sergeant and police officer.
McClary negotiated the terms of Amundson’s employment contract, which includes a base salary of $87,500.
“The proposed agreement represents the product of good faith negotiations and appropriate consideration of compensation, fringe benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment based upon Mr. Amundson’s experience, years of law enforcement service and other considerations,” McClary said.
The contract includes a one-time, one month housing stipend of up to $2,000 for the cost of temporary rental housing while Amundson relocates. He will also receive up to $5,000 as a one-time moving allowance to cover relocation costs.
According to Section 3.7 of the Village Charter, Amundson does not have to live within village limits, but must live no more than 20 miles of the nearest border of the village unless excused or waived by the council.
Amundson will also have a police department vehicle to drive for official use, retirement benefits, paid holidays, sick leave, vacation time, up to 100 hours of compensatory time, four personal days each year and disability, health and life insurance.
According to the contract, he will be entitled to 25 vacation days and can be reimbursed for unused days at the time he leaves the police department. Sick days are calculated at four hours per pay period, with a stipulation that upon termination from employment or retirement he will receive compensation of 50% of the accumulated hours of unused sick leave with a maximum payment of 300 hours.
If the village terminates Amundson’s contract without cause, he will receive one month’s severance pay of his base salary.

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