Mayor, Police and Fire Commission at odds…again
QUINCY — A small post-Christmas Quincy City Council agenda didn’t seem like much going into Tuesday night’s meeting.
But an item not on the agenda ended up taking up most of the evening.
Police and Fire Commission Chairman Barry Cheyne spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and said last Thursday, Dec. 22, he had requested an item be placed on the Dec. 27 City Council agenda that said the commission had unanimously approved a three-year contract for Quincy Police Chief Adam Yates.
Yates, who was named chief on June 21 with a six-month probationary period that ended last week, had just finished swearing in four new QPD officers before Cheyne stepped to the mic.
Cheyne said he was told by City Clerk Laura Oakman that Mayor Mike Troup had “instructed” her to remove the item concerning the chief’s contract from the agenda.
Cheyne said the action was done by the mayor “without rationale and or consultation with the Fire and Police Commission. This action is contrary to city business practices in the municipal code.”
After Alderman Jeff Bergman, R-2, asked when the council be able to receive and file the recommendation, Troup said he would provide an update later during executive session under the provision of either appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of employees.
But that was not listed as the reason the council was to go into executive, or closed, session. What was listed on the agenda was the council was going into closed session to “review past executive session minutes”.
According to the Illinois Open Meetings Act, an item for executive session discussion does not have to be on that agenda 48 hours before the meeting. But, if that item is not on the agenda before the meeting, no action can be taken on it.
After Alderman Richie Reis, D-6, asked if that was normal to remove an agenda item without consulting the party placing the item on the agenda, Troup said “I think it’s clear that the DOAS (director of administrative services) and the Mayor can move things if it was not ready to be on the agenda for the public. And this is something we need to get in to executive session. I think the picture will be less foggy.”
After the meeting, Cheyne said there was an “11th hour” request by the administration to extend Yates’s probationary period, but the commission denied that request and unanimously voted to approve the three-year contract.
“We didn’t see anything substantive that would change our position,” Cheyne said.
The four new officers are Joel Siebers, Brady Bockenfeld, Tyler Kent, and Blaine Venvertloh. Siebers is from Liberty and the other three are Quincy natives. They will begin academy training in January.
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