Mt. Vernon Register-News

May 3, 2014

City considers hiring change

By TESA GLASS tesa.glass@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — An ordinance to amend the duties of the Police and Fire Commission to place hiring and firing of chiefs under the duties of the city manager is up for discussion and a possible vote Monday night.

Under terms of the amendment, the Police and Fire Commission will be responsible to “make rules only concerning the appointment, removal, and discharge of officers and members of the fire and police departments of the city except for that of the chief and assistant chief of the police department and the chief and assistant chief of the fire department and the board shall maintain an eligibility register of such persons eligible for appointment to each department.”

For the chiefs and assistant chiefs of each department, the positions “shall be appointed and discharged by, shall be under the supervision and control of, and shall serve at the pleasure of the City Manager.”

The amendment further states the chiefs can be appointed from any qualified applicants, including but not limited to members of the departments.

“Although selection and appointment of an applicant to the position of chief or assistant chief shall be within the sole authority of the City Manager, the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners shall assist the City Manager in reviewing applicants, conducting interviews, and evaluating applicants for the position of chief or assistant chief.”

The change comes as the city is without a police chief, following the retirement of Chris Mendenall from the position after a 31-year career. Mendenall retired Feb. 3, and his resignation was effective on Feb. 15. Mendenall had been an officer with the city since 1983, and was promoted to chief in March 1998.

Since Mendenall’s departure, the city has been without a chief, with Assistant Chief Chris Deichman filling the role. No one has been interviewed for the position at this time.

Prior to Monday’s council meeting, a public hearing will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the old council chambers at City Hall to inform the public of an application to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Housing Development Authority for housing rehabilitation grants. The grant area during the most recent round of applications will be along Airport Road between White Street and Marteeney Street. The city council will then hold its regular meeting at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building at 7 p.m.

In other business, the council will:

n Hear bid results for the wayfinding system;

n Hear bid results for the annual fireworks display;

n Hear a request to close Ninth Street from Main to Broadway on May 16, June 13 and July 18 from 4 to 8 p.m. for the downtown promotional event, “9th Street Fair;”

n Hear a capital projects report;

n Hear requests to seek bids for the city hall bathroom remodeling, a copier lease and for six new police department squad cars;

n Hold a first reading on the annual salary ordinance;

n Discuss a resolution authorizing the appropriation of motor fuel tax funds for the street maintenance program;

n Discuss a resolution for support of the Community Development assistance program grant;

n Discuss a resolution approving an agreement with Crosswalk Community Action Agency;

n Discuss a change order to the contract with Guinzy Construction regarding the 27th Street sidewalk project;

n Discuss an agreement with BMG Engineers for the sanitary sewer extension to the site of the new high school;

n Discuss an intergovernmental agreement between the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the city for participation in the Forever Green Illinois program;

n Hear a proclamation for National Police Week;

n Discuss the re-appointment of Sandy Williams, Teri Clark, Bernard Dickneite, Trinda Heitmeyer and Jerry Harpole and the appointment of Sarah Sledge to replace Nikitia Hughes to the Park Board;

n Discuss the appointment of Olivia Majerchin and the re-appointment of Mike Green, Dr. Michael Smith, Doug Hoffman and James Malone to the Minority Affairs and Human Relations Commission;

n Discuss the appointment of Kischa Jackson to the Tourism Board to replace Jamie Wheeler; and

n Discuss the re-appointment of William Pittman to the Police Pension Board.

The council will meet 7 p.m. Monday at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building at Veterans Park.