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.