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.
One Springfield Alderman called the two zoning changes approved for halfway homes in Springfield during last night's council meeting as "picking and choosing."
Zoning classifications for halfway houses were called into question last fall when a man living in one, known as House of the Rainbow, was arrested for murder. After that, the council refused to go along with zoning for that operation.
Yet last night, changes were allowed for properties on East Jackson and South 11th.
The political boundaries for Springfield aldermen have been set. The city council approved a new ward map last night on a 9-1 vote. It will take into account census data. The map design also was done to ensure an African American represents Ward 2.
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.
Despite concerns over gambling parlors cutting into the bottom line of local bars and restaurants, the Springfield City Council last night approved zoning changes to allow more of the establishments to open shop. Aldermen Cory Jobe voted in favor, even though he's pushing an ordinance to require video gambling only at places that earn 60 percent or more of revenue from food and beverage sales.
Jobe says the city is skirting the spirit of the law. But he says there’s no conflict in his vote.
The City of Springfield may be looking at setting a mandatory retirement age for all new police hires. During Tuesday’s city council meeting, both the city’s mayor and police chief say they support a cut off at age 60.
The company that manages Springfield's workers comp caseload wants to go outside the county for a key hire. City aldermen questioned that move last night.
The contract with Triune Health Group says the nurse representative it used must be in Sangamon County. The company says the job is highly specialized and it can't find anyone within the county who is qualified.
Instead, the firm wants to use a nurse in Macon County. Some aldermen at the committee of the whole meeting were left scratching their heads, since the Springfield area has a wealth of healthcare workers.
Before Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting, Springfield City Council held a special meeting to release the full audio from a November 5, 2013 executive session discussion about Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Mayor Michael Houston said release of the audio required majority consent of the council.
The vote came after a Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt ruled the discussion a violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. The topic of the audio is a plan to seek proposals for private management of the city-owned cemetery. The plan has since been abandoned.
Springfield aldermen raised questions last night regarding their city email accounts. Alderman Cory Jobe says an email from a constituent was forwarded to him from the City Communications Director's account. Nathan Mihelich holds that position. He says it's due to how the email program is set up.
“The way the computer works, it may list me as the administrator for the program. And that's why you're seeing it like that. But I'm not cc'd on any of those emails,” Mihelich said.
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.