Waltrip makes immediate impact during first day as South Jax President

By Ryne Turke on June 22, 2015 at 9:21pm

A new era has begun for the village of South Jacksonville.

After months of South Jacksonville residents packing Village Hall and asking for change, that day finally came on Monday.

During a special meeting, being held the day after former Village President Gordon Jumper stepped down from office, several announcements were made regarding the future of the village.

One of the major actions from trustees was the acceptance of the findings from the ethics commission report and the decision to move forward with the recommendations of the commission.

The three-member commission was formed after an ethics complaint was filed against the village, following a 2014 Illinois State Police report. The report alleges wrongdoing against former South Jacksonville officials Gordon Jumper, Linda Douglass and Richard Evans.

New Village President Steve Waltrip gives his thoughts on the situation.

“We want to keep progressing and flowing. Let’s not prolong what the inevitable is.  We have an issue to address and we addressed it. Timing is everything we feel and this is out of our hands. Let the process happen as it may,” says Waltrip.

According to Waltrip, trustees will be sending the commission-reviewed documents to an appellate prosecutor. Waltrip says any findings of corruption from the prosecutor could be addressed in front a judge for further legal action.

In other action, Waltrip appointed six members of the community to vacant positions at Village Hall.

Officer Michael Broaddus was named Interim Police Chief, taking the place of retired Chief Richard Evans. Village Clerk Dani Glascock was announced as the new Freedom of Information Act Officer, taking over for former Clerk and FOIA Officer Linda Douglass.

South Jacksonville’s new Treasurer will be Kathy Simpson, who has 20 years of experience working in the village. Paula Stewart and Kevin Eckhoff were named Chairs of the Concert in the Cornfield Celebration.

Other appointments include Wilbur German as Code Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector and Tom McCarthy as acting part-time Accounts Payable Clerk.

Waltrip also announced three positions in South Jacksonville that will undergo reappointments. David Hickox will take over as Fire Chief, John Green remains the Superintendent of Water, Sewer, Streets and Parks and Jacksonville Police officer Jennifer Wilson will continue serving as a FOIA officer.

Changes to the makeup of the three South Jacksonville committees were also made on Monday. Each board was given a Chair, Co-Chair, Supervisor and additional support from trustee members.

Steve Waltrip was named Chair of the Personnel and Finance Committee, Mike Elliott will lead the Planning and Public Facilities Committee and John Gotschall will take charge of the Public Protection Committee.

Waltrip feels adding a Co-Chair and additional support will improve each committee.

“With Co-Chairs like that, they can talk if they need to before they address things. This is a pretty good fix and it mixes up what we had in the past. That was kind of stale. Let’s bring this forward and see what happens with these committees,” says Waltirp.

The latest report from each committee will be shared during a special meeting Thursday night.

More details on the future plans for the Concert in the Cornfield will be released by WLDS/WEAI on Tuesday afternoon.