What Happens When the Headlines Fade: A Year Later, Former Mayor and Former Officer Still Putting the Pieces Together

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Meigs Independent Press examines the story that was making headlines one year and a month ago in Meigs County concerning former Pomeroy Mayor, Mary McAngus, and former Pomeroy Police Department Officer, Kyle Calendine, in this special editorial/investigative piece.)

I remember listening to the morning news while getting ready for the day when I first heard the story. The resignation of a mayor, the things she allegedly said and a beat cop in the middle of it all were prominent on television, radio and newsprint. Online sites were a buzz with the headlines of an anti-homosexual mayor and the cop she would allegedly use slurs for when referencing him. It had all the markings of a perfect storm, a gift that just kept giving for anyone in the media to frenzy over. And perhaps, that is what bothered me the most. It was too easy. The bow too neatly wrapped around it. I kept waiting for someone, anyone to ask the questions that were going through my mind. They never came. It did not sit well with me. It never has and it seemed appropriate to revisit this case and find out where the two main characters in this neatly gift wrapped story were today.

Where are they today and what has changed?

The Former Mayor

Mary McAngus sought the mayor’s seat not because she wanted to discriminate against someone, but because she wanted to see changes made for the better of her village. That point could be debated by some, but the heart of what she was attempting to do was make things better for the river town known as Pomeroy.

She did not hit it off so well with the Pomeroy Police Chief, Mark Proffitt. It has been a generally well known consensus with many that the two were not exactly buddies, to say the least. High turnover at the department, along with persistent rumblings of corruption, questionable professionalism, and other related topics concerning the Pomeroy Police Department have continued through social media, hair salons, and over cups of coffee. It was and is like the great blue elephant in the room. Everyone has a story, something to add to that point. Everyone has some tidbit to share to the lingering list of problems and issues related to the department, but nothing seemed to change about it. In steps McAngus, ready to make a move on doing something. Her main point was to see a change in the head of the Pomeroy Police Department with removing Proffitt. In a rapid series of events, she went from seeking to change things with the department to having allegations coming from Proffitt concerning what she said about then Officer Kyle Calendine. Within a short period of time the focus goes from the blue elephant to the gray haired lady using words most people refrain from using these days.

I remember living near Cincinnati when the whole Marge Schott deal went down. There was Marge, unafraid to say anything at anytime to anyone. She was tough as nails with her smoking, her dogs and her determination to run things her way. The other side of her can be found in multiple plaques around Cincinnati. She donated heavily to Children’s Hospital, the zoo and other places. She said some things and it cost her control of her beloved Reds. She was a different type of woman that went through a much different era. The story of McAngus reminds me of Marge quite a bit.

It is not for me to defend McAngus. There are, however, questions that linger a year later.

When the story first broke, McAngus said she received hate calls, mail and other angry communications from across the country. She said reporters were on her doorstep and in her yard. That, combined with the less than friendly atmosphere which existed between Proffitt, certain members of the council, and McAngus, her choice to just walk away makes more sense. Many have commented that it was all a part of her being “guilty”. The factor left out of that is her age. McAngus has said she wanted “it all to stop” referring to the media frenzy related to her. Google her name a year later and it paints a very one sided picture to the story. One sided? It seems very correct in the portrayal until you note that not long after McAngus resigned, Calendine was gone too. It is a point left off most of the stories about the former mayor and the former officer.

The Officer

Kyle Calendine is a personable man that dreamed of being in law enforcement. He attained that goal and soon found himself working at the Pomeroy Police Department. Sounds just ducky, doesn’t it?

Not long after he was hired, the rumblings of McAngus’ alleged anti-homosexual comments were making their way back to Calendine. Very shortly after that, McAngus was in the center of a fire-storm related to those alleged comments and Calendine was being interviewed for the evening news.

The story spread quickly and at the center of it was McAngus and off to the side was Proffitt. He seemed eager to blow the whistle on McAngus. Some gay rights sites heralded him for standing up to the mayor. That all seems above board until you take into context the fact McAngus really wanted Proffitt gone from his position. Calendine trusted the word he was given about the then mayor and her alleged comments.

Not long after McAngus went, however, he found himself in the very precarious position of being unemployed.

Where are they now?

McAngus continues to live in the area. She has battled various health issues. She has had the hate mail ease up since the resignation. She continues to be concerned about the village. She also expressed concern for Calendine. She does not blame him.

Calendine does not blame her, either. He has said he felt he was “used” in the matter and does not have any ill feelings toward McAngus.

Calendine, however, for being reported by Proffitt as being a good officer, has not been employed as a police officer after the questionable circumstances of his departure from the department. It is questionable because depending on who you talk to, Kyle either resigned or was fired. He has relocated out of the area.

Questions that remain to be pondered.

There are several questions which may or may not be answered even a year later following this most unfortunate case. Was McAngus leaving due to concern for Calendine’s rights, the firestorm surrounding her, or was it politically motivated? Was this a set up? Why was Calendine so quickly allegedly dismissed from the department? (Some maintain he chose to quit.) Has progress truly been made in the Pomeroy Police Department, the council and the mayor’s seat since she left the position?

It is easy to dismiss the questions and even McAngus until one point is made clear, Calendine feels McAngus was “set up” for the whole affair too. The two who seem to have completely different view points and should be on opposite sides of the ring, are not.

Why is it everyone seems ready to talk about problems related to Pomeroy village and council? Why was Calendine so quickly dismissed and out of the picture following McAngus’ resignation? Was this motivated by concern for the rights of a gay officer or was it more base than that? Is this a case of straight forward discrimination or political maneuvering? Are things really as they appear with this case and the continued issues with Pomeroy council? Does this case tie in to other pending legal issues the village is facing? Will this eventually involve a legal case of it’s own? Is Proffitt the hero for standing up against discrimination? Why have so many questions continued to circulate around what appears to be an “open and closed” case? Has justice really been served for anyone in this?

There are a lot of questions that remain a year later. For the two people that have been at the heart of it, this has not been just another news story. This has been their lives. One minute, one hour, one day at a time dealing with the fallout from those headlines a year ago. It has been a year that changed things for both of them. It has been a year of unrealized hopes and dashed dreams. It has been a year of taking it one day at a time wondering what tomorrow will bring. The lenses of this incident continue to filter their vision of the future long after the headlines faded. They are two different people with two different backgrounds that have found a measure of common ground with their experience.

It is important to note that Mary McAngus and Kyle Calendine are now friends a year later.