Village Appoints Werries To Open Board Seat; Interview Continue For New Police Chief

By Benjamin Cox on August 26, 2020 at 8:33am

The Village of South Jacksonville has filled their open trustee position. The current village board accepted the appointment of Megan Werries to the board last night in special session. Werries says she hopes to bring her knowledge to the board: “I’m just hoping to learn a lot as of right now. I hope to learn all the aspects and then decide what I really want to focus on, and help make things better for the village. I’ve just been kind of interested [in the past] but have been kind of limited due to my job. I feel like I could add some stuff that I know to the financial side of running the village, so I was just kind of interested in that part.”

Village President Harry Jennings says he was impressed with Werries’ education and work background: “There were 3 people that expressed interest, and I was just really impressed with her educational background and her municipal accounting experience. I think she is going to fit in really well. We will see over the next few months before whether or not she runs for election. I have no idea if she is going to run. I haven’t asked her, but we will see how that fits in. I think right now she’s a really good fit for the board.”

Werries had to confirm no conflicts of interest with her current employer, accounting firm Zumbahlen, Eyth, Surratt, Foote & Flynn. The accounting firm had been the village’s auditor for at least the past 18 years prior to this year. Werries says that she would have to abstain from voting in any instances of the village’s audit if her firm, where she is currently a manager, was chosen as the village’s accounting firm in the future. Werries fiancee is also currently a member of the village’s volunteer fire department. Jennings told Werries that she would also have to abstain from voting if he were to ever have any personnel (promotion, discipline, salary raise, etc.) matter come before the board in the future. Werries will be officially sworn in at the September business meeting

In other business last night, the village board also interviewed two other candidates to possibly be the next Chief of Police. Current Chief Tim Mann announced his retirement last month. Jennings says that board’s decision is getting closer: “We are probably at about that 30 to 90 day mark. A lot of that depends upon Tim, too. He’s not ready to rush out the door, but he has announced his announced his retirement. We are going to work with whomever we select as far as time frame, because we don’t want to have to have them rush out the door wherever they are at either.”

Jennings says that the search has also played a part in a decision about residency requirements for department heads in the village. Jennings says that the board will approve a loosening of residency requirements for department heads to now be required to just live in the boundaries of Morgan County rather than in the village’s limits. Jennings says that the board would like to open up the pool of candidates for future hiring purposes.