The Minonk City Council decided to keep the residency requirement for full time employees at its normal Monday night meeting. Aldermen Ronald Marshall, Mark McNamara and John Marcoline voted to rescind the residency requirement while aldermen Russell Ruestman, Nick Fortner and Nick Caverra voted to keep the residency requirement. Mayor Bill Koos broke the tie by voting to keep the residency requirement.
The residency requirement issue involves the residency of Chief Police John Wherry who lives in Pekin but keeps an apartment in Minonk that he occasionally uses but most of the time he commutes from Pekin. In a letter to the City, Chief Wherry gave his reasons not to commit to living in Minonk. He said that "putting a residency requirement on my employment, impacts not only me but my family. It would limit my wife on where she could work and my kids on where they could attend school. I truly enjoy working in this Community and serving as your Chief of Police. I am fully confident in my abilities to provide the service you expect from me without prejudice." Chief Wherry also added that "small towns have limited resources to offer, and requiring residency can limit the pool of qualified employees."
Mayor Koos stated that Chief Wherry knew when he was hired that residency was a requirement and feels strongly that full time residency is necessary to enable a police officer to be fully integrated into the community.
Uftring Automotive Receives TIF Grant
The council approved a TIF grant of $38,443.75 to Uftring Automotive which is half of the total cost to extend the pavement to its parking area and to add 3 LED lights to the parking lot. The amount is one half of the total project cost of $76,887.50 payable in two annual payments. JustCore Concrete was the low bidder on the concrete bid and Sidebottom & Sons was the low bidder on the LED lights.
Waste Water Treatment Plant Upgrade Bid Accepted
The council approved a bid of $1,630,000 by Mid-Illinois Mechanical Inc. of Bloomington for upgrades to the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
In other business, the council approved spending $15,000 of MFT funds for spray patching roads this year. Chip and seal operations will not be done this year but will be done every 2 years in order to get better unit pricing.
Jamie Buss: What exactly does the residency requirement say? According to the report He has an apartment in town and an address. Does it say he has to sleep in the bed so many times a year?!?! Who is going to be in charge of checking to see if he stays at the residence? I'm guessing there are a couple alderman that have nothing better to do then sit at his residence in town and see if he stays at it!!!
Gail Zack: Well, I certainly hope nobody would be sitting there stalking him all hours to see if he is there, that is illegal ðŸ˜‚
But for real, my neighbor comments all the time about how she never knows I am home because I never leave my house.....
Gail Zack: He has a residency. I personally remember processing his water bills. My son was interested in the same house he is renting. By residency do they mean he can never leave? Ugh!
Edmund Johnson: I am confused how this can be when he is quoted in the Peoria Journal Star that he chose not to relocate to Minonk because of his family? Those are his words so I'm not sure how they can be mistaken for something else.
Gail Zack: Well, he has residence here... He pays utility bills. Water, sewer and trash. Lives on Walnut. If you want clarification on his statement in the Peoria paper you need to ask him.
Jennifer Murrah: Personally I think your City workers should reside in the city they serve. Be it police, fire, rescue, water, etc.....
Edmund Johnson: Does anybody else find it odd that the same council member voting for the residency requirement to be recinded is also violating the residency requirement?
Tammy Weiland: Is this all full time employees of the city?
Bobbie Evans Stewart: Yes it is for all full time employees. They have 6 months according to personnel policy to establish residency. Hasn't always been enforced though.
Tammy Weiland: Well if they're going to enforce it for one, they will have to for all.
Tina Dunning: Let's hope it gets enforced!
Becky Nalan: Wow! So they couldn't get rid of him other ways and they found this one. Will be interesting to see if the others have to go too under this retained guideline.
Tammy Weiland: If not I smell a lawsuit