Anders out, McLaughlin in as police and fire commissioner

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Kerry Anders and Mike McLaughlin

QUINCY — After weeks of speculation and scuttlebutt, Quincy Mayor Mike Troup pulled the trigger at Monday night’s Quincy City Council meeting and nominated former Adams County Board Chairman Mike McLaughlin as the city’s newest police and fire commissioner. The City Council then approved the nomination by a 7-5-1 vote, with Troup casting the eighth vote to provide a majority.

McLaughlin replaces Kerry Anders on the commission and joins Steve Meckes and Barry Cheyne on the three-person board.

Troup said the city’s corporation counsel and “two other lawyers familiar with police and fire commission rules” had ruled Anders’ three-year-term ended on January 28. He wanted former alderman Jason Finney to take the seat two weeks ago but acknowledged Finney’s employment with the Illinois Department of Human Services had some “gray area” as to whether he could also serve on the commission.

Certain Illinois employees are at times ineligible for some civic appointments because of the state employees ethics act.

Troup had served as the chairman of the finance committee of the Adams County Board during part of McLaughlin’s term as board chairman.

Troup said McLaughlin’s executive experience and time as County Board chairman dealing with open and closed meetings made him a qualified choice. Troup said he had spent three or four weeks looking to fill the position.

Two speakers, Dennis Williams and Cecil Weathers, asked Troup to let Anders finish his term and possibly offer him a new three-year term. Williams said, as an African-American, having Anders in the position demonstrated leadership in diversity, and that diversity had improved in the city’s police and fire departments during his tenure.

Alderman Richie Reis (D-6) said he believed there had been an African-American on the commission since the 1970s and asked to table McLaughlin’s nomination. Troup said he attempted to do that with Finney’s appointment, but he had to ask for it to be tabled indefinitely because of the questions with his eligibility to serve.

“There are others (African-Americans) out there,” Reis said.

His motion to table failed to advance, although Alderman Greg Fletcher (R-1) also asked about tabling the appointment.

Alderman Ben Uzelac (D-7) then asked the mayor, “How much did Mr. McLaughlin donate to your election campaign?”

Troup said, “I don’t know. He was a supporter of mine, but that’s not why he’s getting this appointment. Any other questions … or attacks?”

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, McLaughlin donated $1,200 to Troup during his mayoral campaign.

Mike McLaughlin, pictured behind Mike Troup, as Troup made his announcement to run for mayor of Quincy in November 2020. | miketroupformayor.org

Aldermen Fletcher, Jeff Bergman (R-2), Kelly Mays (R-3), Parker Freiburg (R-3), Tony Sassen (R-4), Mike Rein (R-5) and Jack Holtschlag (D-7) voted for McLaughlin.

Aldermen Reis, Eric Entrup (R-1), Dave Bauer (D-2), Katie Awerkamp (D-6) and Uzelac opposed McLaughlin’s nomination. Alderman John Mast (R-5) voted “present.” Alderman Mike Farha (R-4) was absent.

Troup said it was nothing personal against Anders. He said Anders did not personally reach out to him to say he was interested in another term. Troup said he was aware Anders was interested in continuing by reading it in Muddy River News, but he said, “I don’t negotiate through the media.”

Anders did not attend the meeting as he was out of town. When reached by telephone, he reacted to Troup’s action by saying, “That was very Trumpian of him. It just shows what kind of a man he is.”

In other action, aldermen:

  • Approved a special permit for Recovery Anonymous to operate a sober living house at 1111 N. Eighth Street and waived the requirement in city code that 800 feet must be between a halfway house and any pre-existing day care, preschool, private or public school, college or vocational school.
  • Approved the $9,000 purchase of a 2016 flat bed trailer from United Rentals of Quincy for the City’s asphalt seam machine.
  • Approved the creation of a new capital projects fund and to direct any American Rescue Plan Act receipts into this Fund.
  • Approved a bid from Peters Heating and Air Conditioning for $10,468 to replace the rooftop HVAC unit at Central Fire Station.
  • Approved an ordinance authorizing a new lease agreement for the North Side Boat Club.
  • Heard a revenue presentation from Comptroller Sheri Ray.

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