CRIDERSVILLE — The population of the village doesn't reach 2,000, but the police chief here had total compensation in 2011 to match a much larger community.Village Police Chief John D, Drake made $78,382 in 2011, according to village records. Drake's compensation was second among police chiefs in the four-county region of Allen, Auglaize, Putnam and Van Wert counties. Only Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin, with a salary of $88,514 in 2011, made more than Drake.Unlike Martin, Drake is not a salaried employee. He earns an hourly rate of $23.84. In 2011, Drake also recorded 777 hours of overtime and was paid time and a half for those hours. Drake's $78,000 in earnings included about $30,000 in overtime.Drake declined comment and referred The Lima News to Mayor Lorali Myers.Myers supported Drake, saying he manages as well as patrols, and also works with a canine unit that provides a good service to other police departments and communities.“Chief Drake is a working chief; he takes calls, he patrols. He manages cases for our village. He is a working chief. He's not an individual who sits behind a desk,” Myers said.Myers also said she has talked with Drake about the number of overtime hours he accumulates.“I think there is an opportunity to improve on areas of overtime with Chief Drake. We've had that discussion. There are opportunities to staff the department in a fashion, time to do the office work he needs to do and still patrol. We've had that discussion. I have every confidence it will improve.”The salary came to light with its publication in The Lima News' annual salary project, for which the newspaper requests of municipalities the salaries of its employees. This is the first year the newspaper included Cridersville in the survey. It dropped the population requirement to 1,500 and also added Elida and Kalida to the list. Kalida did not comply with the records request. All other municipalities, employees and their salaries can be found at LimaOhio.com under the “Info Center” link.Most chiefs in the region earn an annual salary, not an hourly rate. Of the 18 chiefs included in the 2011 salary project, three earned an hourly rate.Cridersville Councilman Tony Zuppardo said he has tried to change the hourly rate to a salaried wage, but “it has fallen on deaf ears.”“I think the possibility of getting something done now might be better than in the past, because of who is on council now,” Zuppardo said. “I've said it openly at meetings. It's very poor management, is why this has happened. There's only one person the chief answers to. The police chief in a small municipality answers only to the mayor. She has allowed this to go and go and go.”Myers did confirm Drake reports to her, but said many people, including council members, are responsible for the finances of the village.“I have a voice, but I don't have a vote. Everybody has a responsibility in a small village to oversee finances,” Myers said. “I am only one of the responsible parties for the finances of the village.”Drake, 40, began his career with the department in 1991 as an auxiliary police officer, according to the Cridersville Police Department website. In 1994, he was promoted to sergeant and the following year was assigned to acting chief. He was promoted to chief in 1996. Since 1993, Drake has been a member of the Grand Lake Task Force. His wife, Shannon Drake, serves as the Police Department clerk as well as the Utility Department clerk.The village also employees two other full-time police officers, a lieutenant and a sergeant, and at least 10 part-time officers. Lt. Bryan Creech has a $19.59 hourly rate and made $45,547 in 2011. Sgt. Joshua Joseph has a $15.10 hourly rate and made $39,495. Twelve part-time officers in 2011 had hourly rates ranging from $9 to $11.94, and they made between $755 and $16,000 for the year. Zuppardo believes the department should increase its use of its part-time employees, who make a much lower hourly rate, to reduce Drake's overtime and save the village money.Myers said the part-time officers are often young and green, freshly graduated cadets, who cannot always patrol by themselves. She also said many of the part-time officers stay with the village for only a short time before moving on to another larger community, which is common for small communities and departments.“They are new officers without any experience. We're training them,” Myers said. “I'm proud of Chief Drake and the other full-time officers who have trained the officers who have moved on and found opportunities and careers they are looking for.”In 2005, the department used donations to purchase a canine. The dog, whose handler is Drake, is certified in detecting narcotics, tracking and apprehension. Periodically, the dog is requested by other departments for search help. Zuppardo said Drake's work with the dog is regularly given as a reason for extra work. When the canine unit is called, it is called by other jurisdictions and rarely used in Cridersville, Zuppardo said. The village does receive back a percentage of funds recovered in any seizures, Zuppardo said, but he believes that percentage is small.Drake does not charge other agencies for his help with the canine unit, Myers said, and does charge the village. Funds that come back to the village are used to help fund the police department and canine unit, she added.“It's being a good neighbor,” Myers said. “We are here to be a team player in the county. We assist them and they assist us.”The website describes the department as full time, with “24-7” coverage.“Our pledge to enhance the quality of life throughout the village is that of Excellence, Initiative, and Integrity,” the website reads. “It is our goal to continue being a responsive, pro-active and caring department making Cridersville a safe place to live, work and visit.”Drake has regularly turned in hundreds of overtime hours each year, Zuppardo said. In 2006, 2007 and 2008, he recorded more than 600 hours of overtime each year. In 2009, he recorded 557 hours of overtime. In 2010, he recorded 441 hours.Drake's hiring and pay structure happened before Zuppardo joined council, so he said he didn't know the history of why he is paid an hourly rate rather than a salary. Myers also said the pay structure predates her service as mayor, which began in 2008. Because Drake is paid hourly, the village is required by law to pay him the overtime rate, Myers said.Zuppardo said he has criticized the pay structure and number of overtime hours for several years. Zuppardo now believes some new council members share the same concerns. The Finance Committee now wants a monthly report from the Police Department about the number of overtime hours worked, by whom and for what purpose.“No one's watching what he's doing. Since the monitoring is not happening any other way, we're trying to do something about it,” Zuppardo said. “It's not falling on deaf ears today.”Myers said Drake informs her when he is accumulating overtime hours for specific reasons, such as an investigation. She also said she believes Drake is working the overtime hours he turns in.Asked if he believes Drake is working the hours he turns in as overtime, Zuppardo chooses his words carefully.“The chief keeps track of his own time,” Zuppardo said.