Cridersville Police Chief John Drake is guilty of the same mistake too many village, city and county employees make: He's hiding behind the words “no comment.”It's a reaction that happens too often when the media begin asking pesky questions. Public officials forget who is paying their salaries: It's not the town council or the mayor, rather the residents they serve.Drake's silence was a result of questions regarding his salary, He made $78,382 in 2011 working for one of the smallest villages in the region. About $30,000 of that was overtime, in which he claimed 777 hours.Why did he have so much overtime and how was it monitored?“The chief keeps track of his own time,” Councilman Tony Zuppardo said, none too happy with the situation.Drake said ask the mayor; he's not talking.Mayor Lorali Myers said Drake informs her of specific reasons when he is accumulating overtime hours. She said she believes his overtime is accurate, saying he's busy investigating Cridersville's crime, patrolling, managing cases and training new recruits.Myers called Drake a “working chief,” not just a person who “sits behind a desk.” (You know, not like the chiefs in Van Wert, Delphos, St. Marys, Wapakoneta, Shawnee Township, Ottawa and 10 other departments in the region that have populations larger than Cridersville's 1,852 residents).The mayor acknowledged she had discussions with Drake about finding less costly ways to handle his overtime load.Maybe much of Drake's overtime was just a colossal management snafu, or maybe Drake's time on the job was the best use of resources. The only thing that clearly is not a “maybe” is that Drake should address these issues with the public.There is not any legitimate reason for Drake to be silent. He is the one who turned in 777 hours of overtime — that's more than 19 weeks of overtime — and he is the one who needs to be accountable with the public.The mayor and Village Council, meanwhile, have multiple other issues to debate, such as why is the village paying its chief an hourly wage instead of a salary. The Cridersville chief is among only three of the 18 police chiefs in the region who are paid an hourly wage. The other two were in Ottawa, which paid its chief $20,000 less than Drake, and Leipsic, which paid its chief nearly $40,000 less.The Lima News will continue to follow this story, which came to light from the newspaper's annual salary study. This is the first year we dropped the population requirement to include villages with a population of 1,500. That came at the urging of a Cridersville resident.When the survey first began 19 years ago, we received many questions and criticisms about the project. That's not the case anymore, given the many issues the survey has raised about how public funds are being spent.ROSES AND THORNS: A few this week.Rose: To Dorothy Hadding, of Lima, who turned 85 on Sunday and vows she'll live another 30 years. “I'm not on a single medication. I've never been in the hospital. I eat my vegetables and fruit every day,” said Hadding, who also this month marked her 50th year of working at the Lima Bargain Center.Rose: “We said from day one, if we can make an honest living at this, we'd be happy. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect this.” — Amy Fischer Musil, talking about the recent expansions of LuLu's Diner. She and her husband, Justin, opened the original restaurant on Spencerville Road two years ago. They are now running the restaurant at Tamarac Golf Course and soon plan to open a new restaurant on Lima's east side.Rose: To Clarence Neeper, of Lima. He received the Paul Smith Volunteer Award from The Lima News sports department for his 25 years of helping with the girls sports programs at Lima Central Catholic High School.Rose: To David and Karen Howell, who received the Golden Deeds award from the Lima Exchange Club. The couple have donated countless hours to the Churches United Pantry, a food pantry run by 10 area churches that served more than 6,600 families a year ago.Thorn: To Charesa Smith, the former finance director of Fort Shawnee. In quitting, “effective immediately,” her last comment to the village was to remind them payroll needed to be done as well as quarterly taxes. “I wish you best of luck; you're going to need it,” she wrote.PARTING SHOT: Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you want, but you can spend it only once.Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. To suggest a rose or thorn, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.