QUINCY — The wait for an answer from Jonathan Lewin is nearly over.
Lewin, who received an offer May 2 from the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners to become the chief of the Quincy Police Department, told Muddy River News Thursday night in a text that he will “have a decision (Friday).”
Lewin, 54, has said this before. He told Muddy River News in a May 6 phone interview that he would have a decision by the end of the business day. However, the self-imposed deadline passed without an answer.
The commissioners’ offer to Lewin a six-month probationary appointment is contingent on Lewin completing a background check and a medical screening. Lewin has called the six-month appointment offer “kind of unusual.”
Quincy Mayor Mike Troup held a press conference Monday, saying he was going to ask aldermen to request the fire and police commissioners extend the probationary appointment to 12 months. However, Troup said there was “no pending change” on the offer after Monday’s City Council meeting.
“Jonathan says this is a good opportunity, but he believes he is getting mixed signals as to, ‘Do the commissioners really want me? Are they looking for reasons to find something that kicks me out of the process?’” Troup said during the press conference. “He’s been trying to get some clarification on that.”
Troup calls conference call ‘a good idea’
That clarification may have happened Wednesday. Commissioner Barry Cheyne suggested a three-way conference call with Troup and Lewin to address concerns about the employment offer.
“I thought it was a good idea,” Troup said. “I’m glad he wanted to include me. I had some private conversations with Jonathan last week, and Barry did too. So let’s both get on there and see what (Lewin) has to say. So I thought the call did go well.”
Cheyne said everybody came away with a better understanding of the offer.
“The mayor talked to the pieces of the city, and I talked to the pieces of the commission in terms of the appointment and the probationary period and any follow-up that may require an additional probationary period,” Cheyne said. “There was a great conversation. Jonathan reinforced he thought the process used here in Quincy was top-notch, and every piece was thorough.
“I think all parties left with an understanding that they understood what the employment offer was and what it meant. I thought it was very positive. We await Mr. Lewin’s decision.”
Troup said he made sure Lewin understood he could receive up to a three-year contract if he meets all the goals set during the six-month probationary appointment. If Lewin does not reach those goals in six months, the commissioners will give Lewin six more months.
Troup told Lewin aldermen want him in Quincy ‘as soon as we can’
“I said I don’t have any objectives that are set in stone,” Troup said. “i told him my goal would be once you are here that we sit down and say OK, these are the things that I think are important and I’d like to have included in that performance.
“Monday night when we had the council meeting, there were a lot of questions about, ‘Has he accepted? What’s the status?’ I just asked (the aldermen), ‘Are you interested in having Jonathan there? Would you rather not? Just where are you?’ And of all the aldermen, nobody objected. Everybody said, ‘He was selected. That’s who we should get. Let’s get him here as soon as we can.’ I shared that, so he knows there’s interest in him coming.”
Troup said some aldermen said they wished the commissioners had handled the first offer differently.
“The fire and police commissioners have the right to set up the offer the way they did, so that’s fine,” the mayor said. “I think some aldermen think they should have done it a different way, but that’s a whole other story. Did the commissioners do anything wrong? No. Would the aldermen have liked to have seen something different? Probably, yeah.”
Lewin retired from the Chicago Police Department in January 2020. He has worked since May 2020 as the public safety advisor for Illinois and Michigan for the First Responder Network, a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce in Reston, Va. He works with public safety to learn about best practices and helps promote the use of advanced communications tools to improve outcomes. Lewin works remotely from his Chicago home.
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