WUIS is asking the candidates for Springfield mayor to talk about education issues facing the community. Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he's concerned that most new single family homes in the area are in suburban school districts. He says an increase in funding for District 186 is probably needed, but says the school board needs to build credibility first.
Springfield Mayor Mike Houston will make a campaign announcement Monday morning. While his release did not say specifically that he will run for another term, the release included this quote, "With so many evolving projects, there's too high of an investment to get off course or to go backwards. Springfield can't afford to make the mistakes again I've worked so hard to correct." His announcement is at 10:30 a.m.
Springfield Mayor Mike Houston is defending the city’s decision to renew a contract for CWLP insurance, despite criticisms over the lack of a bidding process.
The 3 year contract with R.W. Troxell to insure the city owned utility will cost around $1.8 million per year. Mayor Houston, during an interview on WUIS’ Illinois Edition, said the local firm has been doing business with the city for 30 years with a solid track record.
The state says there's no evidence of the intergovernmental agreement that Springfield officials relied on as the legal basis for the NAPA contract approved last month.
Last week, city attorneys asked the state to find proof of a state agreement with a national purchasing agency. Earlier this month, some aldermen questioned the contract used to procure the 3 year, $3 million contract with NAPA Auto Parts.
The city got their answer today, a letter that indicates no trace of the agreement.
Springfield aldermen have unanimously approved the hiring of Kenny Winslow as the city's police chief. Winslow has been in the role since last summer, when he took over after the resignation of Robert Williams. But his hiring on a permanent basis was delayed last night as council members questioned him in private for more than half an hour. An internet site had raised issues about how Winslow might restructure the department. Mayor Mike Houston says aldermen wanted to hear from Winslow:
Springfield's top city attorney has submitted his resignation after helping the mayor and aldermen through a difficult legal battle.
Mayor Mike Houston appointed Mehlick this summer, following the departure of former Corporation Counsel Mark Cullen. Cullen and other city officials are named in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Springfield resident Calvin Christian. Christian accuses them of knowingly and intentionally destroying the documents he was seeking through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Mike Houston says the court system doesn't appreciate when cases are "tried in public", and Springfield's mayor suggests "unethical" leaks of sworn testimony to the media are doing that by "coloring the situation".
The situation is the ongoing lawsuit filed by local newspaper columnist Calvin Christian, which claims the city destroyed dozens of documents he was seeking through the Freedom of Information Act.
The city of Springfield is still nearly two years away from a mayoral election. But half-way through a term he had said would be his last, Mike Houston is now hinting at the possibility of re-election.
Mayor Houston says he's not made any decisions about his political future at this time, but he says they may come in sring 2014.
Houston says his decision-making will be likely affected by long-term challenges facing the city, such as road and sewer improvements, consolidation of train traffic and a search for a source of water to supplement Lake Springfield:
It could be months before law-abiding gun owners can get a permit to carry a handgun in public. But a separate provision of Illinois’ new concealed carry law has already taken effect.
Beginning July 19, communities lose the ability to enact local restrictions on firearms. Those ordinances that are already in place will remain valid, while any future controls would have to be approved by the legislature.
WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky gives the local gun control issue some historical context in this report:
Members of the Springfield City Council are looking for a way to prevent further incidents like the one in April in which police records were apparently shredded or deleted after they were requested by a local reporter through the Freedom of Information Act.
Tuesday night aldermen passed out of committee an ordinance that would require all changes to union contracts be approved by the Council and signed by the Mayor. Such contractual changes are known as memorandums of understanding, or MOUs.
Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he's gathering more information about events last month that triggered allegations that the city destroyed files sought in a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Attorneys for Springfield resident Calvin Christian say the police department violated a state public records retention law last month by destroying dozens of internal affairs files subject to a FOIA request filed by Christian.