Watch now: Decatur Metropolis Council might fill the publish on Monday | Authorities & Politics
Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe announces the next step in filling the vacant seat on the city council. READ MORE HERE.
DECATUR – More than a month after Rodney Walker’s resignation, Decatur’s city council could be full again on Monday.
The six incumbent councilors will interview four finalists for the open seat in a closed executive session that evening and could return to the regular session to vote on a candidate if consensus is reached.
“We expect that we ask each candidate the same questions, similar to an interview … because that’s really the fairest thing,” said Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe. “We’re going to set a time limit of 30 minutes per candidate just to try to keep things on track and I’m looking forward to that.”
The council met earlier this month to sort through the cover letters and résumés of 11 applicants for the position. Behind closed doors, they decided to reduce the candidates to four finalists.
The city administration did not want to announce which candidates made it into the finals. And a handful of applicants contacted by the Herald & Review on Friday did not respond to inquiries on the subject.
The city did not publish the names of the first 11 applicants until after a request under the Herald & Review’s Freedom of Information Act.
According to the documents their references submitted for consideration are William Brennan, a chartered accountant; Jessica Cameron, teacher at Johns Hill Magnet School; Steven Christian, an administrative assistant for Burdick Company; Dennis Cooper, a former chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Corrections; Elijah England, a member service representative at ADM Credit Union; Robert Owen, attorney and former Macon County board member; Stephen Payton, a certified public accountant; Terrence “TAT” Taylor, a radio host at 105.5-FM; Derek Wallace, an entrepreneur; Chelsea Ray Walters, a student at Millikin University; and Marty Watkins, a US Army veteran.
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Six of the candidates are white and five are black, a factor in the selection process as Walker’s resignation last month left the council without an African American in a city where they make up more than a fifth of the population.
Many community leaders have called for an African American to fill the position, and council members have recognized that this is a consideration in deciding who will receive the appointment.
Councilor David Horn said he was “excited that we will be interviewing a strong group of finalists” and is “optimistic that our next councilor will sit, or at least be approved, on Monday evening”.
Alderman Chuck Kuhle said he wanted someone “who had the whole community in mind” when making decisions.
“I’m just looking for someone we can all work with and who doesn’t just have a single agenda item that they want to come to the city council for,” said Kuhle. “I’m looking for someone who can look at a problem from all angles and all aspects of our community.”
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Four out of six votes are required for appointment. The process was last used in September 2015 when the council voted 4-2 to appoint Chris Funk as the seventh member.
Funk took over the seat from Moore Wolfe, who was named mayor after the death of Mayor Mike McElroy earlier this year.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Decatur Civic Center auditorium, although most of the meeting is expected to take place in the executive session.
The 10 highest salaries for Decatur employees
1. Scotsman Wrighton
2. Wendy Morthland
3. Jon Kindseth
Deputy City Director
4. Jeff Abbott
5. Gregg Zientara
6. Jim Getz
7. Matt Newell
Public Works Director
8. Jason Walker
Deputy Chief of Police
9. Shane Brandel
Deputy Chief of Police
10. Cordaryl Patrick
Director of Economic Development and Community Development
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