O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon considering more members, fewer decisions for Board of Fire and Police Commissioners

The O’Fallon City Council will consider increasing its Board of Fire and Police Commissioners and removing discipline from the board’s duties at its Dec. 4 meeting.

The council approved first reading of the ordinance Nov. 20.

During recent contract negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police union members, the city decided its board commissioners ordinance needed to be amended. During the review, removing discipline from board duties was recommended because of changes to the most recent union contract.

Other changes include creating a lateral list to recruit existing officers to the city and increasing board membership.

A lateral list is created to recruit existing officers to the city of O'Fallon.

Increasing board membership from three to five commissioners is also being considered. Members serve three-year terms and are appointed by the mayor.

City Attorney Todd Fleming, of Lowenbaum Law Fire, is also an attorney for the Illinois Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, and drafted the amended ordinance.

For board qualifications, the amended copy is as follows: “Of the five members of the Board, not more than three members of the Board shall be of the employee class or of the employer class, and each shall possess the qualifications required of other officers of the city, shall take oath of office and shall be subject to removal from office in the same manner as other appointed officers of the municipality. No person holding a lucrative office under the United States, the state or any municipality shall be a member of the Board. Not more than three members of the Board shall belong to the same political party.”

For powers and duties, the proposed ordinance states: “The Board shall make rules for the appointment and promotion of full time police and fire officers, with the exception of the Police Chief and Fire Chief. These rules of the Board shall apply only to the conduct of examinations for original appointments of candidates from the traditional list and the lateral entry list and for promotions. When said lists are finalized, they will be sent to the Chief of Police, and he/she will determine, based on operational needs of the Police Department, which list is utilized to fill the vacancy.

“No such rule shall be made by the Board to govern the operation of the Police Department or the conduct of its members.”

Other business

In other business, Scott-Troy Road improvements associated with the Four Points/ McKendree Metro RecPlex development received approval from the O’Fallon City Council on Nov. 20.

Also during the 30-minute meeting, the council approved an agreement with St. Clair County and contractor S.I. Strategy, stating the city will own, maintain and maintain insurance on the sidewalks within the county’s right of way and will pay all energy charges for the traffic signals located at the intersection of Scott-Troy Road with RecPlex Drive.

These are standard agreements initiated when improvements take place on county roads, according to city officials.

The council also advanced several projects to second reading, which will take place at the Dec. 4 meeting.

Annexation of 6.3-plus acres of land and 2.6 acres of right of way on Robbie, Behrens, Carson, and State streets received initial approval. No one attended the public hearing held that night.

Several years ago, the city worked with O’Fallon Township to provide sewer service and make major improvements to the streets and stormwater drainage in the Carson/Behrens area.

Property owners were provided free sewer taps in exchange for signing pre-annexation agreements with the city before the projects started. The infrastructure work is now complete, and O’Fallon wants to bring the properties within the city limits, and would like to improve the area with zoning to reinforce the neighborhood’s single-family nature. plans to use the pre-annexation agreements to bring these properties within city limits and also support pre-existing commercial uses.

In inter-related action, the council agreed to eliminate the unused MH-2 zoning district from the zoning code and passed the first reading.

In a proclamation, Mayor Herb Roach recognized Wood Bakery in honor of its 50th anniversary.

“Wood Bakery has been a cornerstone in downtown O’Fallon since its beginning in 1967, when George Wood bought the bakery with Jim Schmitt, then manager, and now current owner,” Roach said. “Everything at Wood Bakery is made fresh daily, with Jim and his staff starting the day at 3 a.m. With great pride, we congratulate Barbara and Jim Schmitt on their 50th year in business and wish them many more successful years to come.”