This appointment will allow the city's police department to continue to function under a proven leader. It will also finally end the long vacancy that has existed in the office of Chief of Police. Mayor Soliman also expressed his belief that by appointing someone already in the department the message is being sent that any officer can work hard and be promoted within this city. This is a valuable message and will help to build morale and hopefully also attract officers who are looking for stability and a career in Crest Hill. Mayor Soliman also spoke of the difficulties that have been faced by communities bringing in outsiders who often have trouble dealing with the culture of a department with which they are not familiar.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
In tonight's City Council work session, Mayor Soliman announced his intention to appoint Dwayne Wilkerson as Police Chief. Mayor Soliman listed among his reasons, the excellent job Acting Chief Wilkerson has done over the past year, his desire to promote from within when possible, and the years of service that Acting Chief Wilkerson has already given to the city. The City Attorney is reviewing a proposed employment contract, the City Council will be given a chance to speak further with Acting Chief Wilkerson, and the appointment will be on the June 15th agenda.
Crest Hill bills itself as the "City of New Beginnings" and tonight the City Council did its best to live up to that slogan. The work session held tonight was long and contained a great deal discussion, as well as friendly ribbing. The Council used it as a chance to discuss both immediate changes that are part of the new administration as well as longer range ideas. It was a meeting that really looked at what the city is facing and tried to address those issues as well as continue to set a tone for how things will operate from now on.
The change in the feel of the meeting was what most stood out to me. All Council members voiced their thoughts without attacking each other or taking sides. In fact at times it was hard to figure out exactly where people stood on issues. That is healthy though because it was a result of their asking questions and putting forth ideas of future consideration. I am happy to see Council members not making up their minds at work sessions. Where Mayor Soliman turned to myself and the other citizen in the audience and asked our opinions, I must admit I was absolutely shocked. Few mayors would take such a step, but it definitely showed Mayor Soliman's commitment to inclusiveness. I do not know if he will be able to do this every time, but hopefully it is a practice that will continue at least of issues of particular importance.
The issues discussed were of great importance tonight and deserve to be addressed in depth individually. Some of the items of discussion were a possible sales tax increase, appointment of a Police Chief, other mayoral appointments, city signs, City Hall modifications, and the long range plans for Public Works and City Hall.