Werries Sworn In as Village Trustee, Board Passes Ten Shared Principles Resolution, Moves to Sell Retired Ambulance

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 4, 2020 at 10:30am

Megan Werries is sworn in as Village Trustee during the Trustee Board Meeting at South Jacksonville Village Hall Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

The Village of South Jacksonville Board of Trustees met in quick fashion Thursday night approving several ordinances and adding a new member to their ranks officially.

Megan Werries was sworn in as Trustee to fill a position on the board left vacant by the resignation of Greg Nelson in June of this year due conflicts of interest with a new employment position. Werries says she is excited for the opportunity to serve on the board. She will serve out the remainder of the current term vacated by Nelson.

Village Chief of Police Tim Mann presented the board with a resolution for adoption, of the Ten Shared Principles, which were created by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) and the Illinois NAACP in 2018. The Ten Shared Principles are designed to bridge the gap of mistrust between police and communities of color. The Board of Trustees passed adoption of the resolution unanimously.

Chief Mann says adoption of the resolution in the village of South Jacksonville is long overdue.

Many communities have already adopted this resolution, I just thought it was important especially after Miss Pollyanna Williams brought this to us and reminded us that we don’t have a resolution on it. So tonight we have taken care of that.”

Chief Mann also reported to the board the police department has approved an official social media policy, which members of the board plan to review for possible future implementation elsewhere.

Mann says a large amount of work and research went into the development of the policy.

We’ve been working on this for months actually. It’s kind of a culmination of policies from different agencies. It’s tough to find a policy that would be appropriate for the village. The village is it’s own little beast, so that is different agencies social media policies kind of put into ours and what fits for us. It’s been adopted by the village police department and it looks as if the village may look at modifying it a little bit to adopt it for all employees across the village. But at this point, it is in effect for the police department.”

In other action taken by the board Thursday, ordinances were approved on actions that include listing the village’s now retired ambulance for sale, as well as listing three F250 pick up trucks, which will be sold one at a time via sealed bid in order to rotate an older truck out and replace it with a new one over time.

There was only one vote from the board against the proposed change regarding the residency restriction for department heads in the village. Village President Harry Jennings says relaxing the residency restrictions for department heads follows a decision made in the past by the board.

Before I took office, we loosened it up where police officers could live slightly outside of town, within a certain radius. And after a lot of discussion we decided that department heads could live within Morgan County. It was a five to one vote, so I understand both sides.”

Jennnigs says specific details and requirements that may need to be implemented in special circumstances such as will a department head be allowed to drive a village vehicle home of an evening if they live outside of the village, will be discussed in committee. Jennings says relaxing the restriction will help to enlarge the possible pool of candidates for filling department openings in the future.

The board also approved the hire of Zack Morgan as a part time police officer for the village. And the speed limit on Havendale Drive has been lowered from 30 miles per hour, down to 20, after multiple complaints by residents of vehicles speeding in the area.