The City Council voted unanimously to ax Varnum, who was left with no arrest powers after a 2010 revocation of his certification was upheld in court last week.
Varnum’s last day as the Police Department’s “officer in charge” was Wednesday, Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson said.
Jackson said city officials “were saddened” that Varnum lost his battle to restore his certification from Georgia’s Peace Officers Standards and Training Council.
Administrative Law Judge Kimberly Schroer upheld the POST Council’s decision in a ruling issued last week.
“[Varnum] was generally well-liked and seemed to be having a good impact on the morale of the police officers,” Jackson said. “But it was important that the city have someone in that position that meets all of the qualifications to act in all capacities.”
Varnum joined the Lithonia Police Department as a part-time reserve officer two years ago after being forced to resign as a DeKalb County deputy marshal while being investigated on charges of neglect of duty, falsifying a document and unbecoming conduct.
The city named him its officer in charge in January, just as the POST Council was completing its investigation of issues arising during his more than 13 years as a deputy marshal.
Among them was an April 2010 incident in which Varnum processed his own eviction notice and returned it as “unable to serve.”
As a deputy marshal, Varnum’s job was to serve civil warrants for the state and magistrate courts of DeKalb County.
Court documents show that Varnum volunteered to assist a deputy who was assigned to a territory that included his Henderson Mill Road apartment complex, Les Jardins.
One of the six warrants for the complex was an eviction warrant for Varnum for past due rent. Marshal’s Office policy provides that warrants must be served by deputies who are disinterested parties in the suit.
But Varnum said nothing and later that day returned his notice and four of the five others for his complex to the DeKalb County State Court. He had checked a box marking them as unable to be served.
During his appeal hearing, Varnum reportedly told Schroer that he was strictly following the department’s policy that notices would not be served if breezeways at apartment buildings were not clearly marked.
The court did not find his explanation credible and concluded that he acted unethically in his own self-interest.
Jackson said the city will post the police chief job this week, with a salary of about $45,000. Varnum was paid an annual salary of about $32,000, she said.
Capt. Xavier Todd, who came to Lithonia as a reserve officer this year, was named the city’s new officer in charge.
Lithonia has not had a police chief since last December when Chief Kennis Harrell tendered his resignation.