After several months of not having a full complement of aldermen, the rest of the Jacksonville City Council schedule for 2015 should have all ten.
That’s after a replacement for resigned Ward 1 alderman Adonnis Shaw was announced by Mayor Andy Ezard at last night’s meeting. Shaw’s replacement is Jeff Hopkins, pending a vote from City Council at the next meeting.
Hopkins oversees the mandatory education programs for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
“I have been in the community since I came to Jacksonville, went to Illinois College. My wife is a born-and-raised resident of Jacksonville; we’ve raised our two kids in Jacksonville, seen them go through the school system. I have been an assistant T-ball coach, coach baseball coach, soccer coach, and assistant wrestling coach at Jonathan Turner [Junior High School]. So, I’ve always tried to be involved somewhat in the community,” says Hopkins.
“When my kids were a little older, I was more involved in sports. Now, both of them are older and moving on to college. I’m looking at an opportunity to stay involved in the community, hopefully spend a little of my time helping the Jacksonville area.”
As Ezard has previously indicated, there were a number of people interested in the alderman position.
“Working with Jeff in the past for the State of Illinois, I got to see his style, and I just think Jeff will make a good addition to our city council,” he says.
“I trust him, I know his family. I just saw how he interacted with people and his passion that he has in his job at the Department of Natural Resources, and I think he’ll carry that forward to the city council position for Jacksonville, not only be very effective in Ward 1 but be very effective for the whole city,” Ezard continues.
Hopkins says it’s “listen and learn” to start off for him.
“I do not have an agenda. I’m not looking to come here bringing any items. I want to find out what the community’s doing, what this committee’s been up to, what they’ve been working [on], and hopefully benefit,” he says.
This is the second appointment Ezard has made in less than two months. Ben Tomhave was selected to replace Jenny Geirnaeirt in Ward 4 in March. Another new alderman, Travis Richardson, replaced Bruce McDaniel in Ward 5 in last month’s election.