The City of Vandalia officially named Sgt. Justin Landis as the Interim Police Chief during its Board of Alderman meeting held last Tuesday in the Lange Building.
City Administrator Alan Winders, who announced in the same meeting that he has taken a position with the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments, encouraged the board to wait until a new city administrator is hired before hiring a new police chief.
Chief Laird finishes up his tenure on July 1.
“Let me make this clear, the interim police chief is not the new police chief,” Winders said as Sgt. Landis will make decisions as a Police Chief when a situation calls for a decision from that post.
The group agreed to bring ideas for interview questions to the City Clerk by July 1.
Later in the meeting, the board voted to employ Chief Laird as the Temporary Emergency Management Director at a cost of up to $400 a month.
This employment allows the responsibilities of the Emergency Management Director to be fulfilled during this period of having an interim chief. There are other duties he can perform like completing investigations, testing the breathalyzer (certifications required), and assisting the interim chief. He would work at his current hourly rate with a budget of $400 per month for the position.
Alderman Bob Dunn moved to keep Laird in the position and the agenda item was approved unanimously.
Citizen shares concerns about loose animals
Vandalia resident Harold Ledford, who lives in Senior Housing on S. Maple, shared some concerns regarding dogs that are running loose and some loud noise at his residence.
He said he didn’t want to get bit by any of the dogs. He also said that the law should include putting cats on a leash along with dogs.
Ledford shared concerns about the loud noise coming from the neighbors. He said he was told about a 50’ reference but he noted there is only about 5” living in the apartments.
He also expressed his thanks to the Vandalia Police Department for their response to his calls.
Tree Limb Discussion
Alderman Dunn had requested the item be put on the agenda.
A list of the changes that have been made in recent months was provided with information on each item.
He would like to see considered having the residents call City Hall when they have limbs to be picked up. City departments would pick up the limbs within a week.
Discussion was held and the item will be brought back next month with proposals for costs of the change.
Auction Service to be used
Aldermen authorized a measure to dispose of previously identified equipment through the Big Iron Auction Services.
Big Iron is an absolute, no reserve, online auction. The city expects to pay up to 10% in commission plus $500-$1,000 in special advertising. John Wallace is the local representative.
This method allows for anyone to bid on the equipment including local residents.
Equipment will be sold for what the market allows.
Additionally, the staff time needed to move this equipment is greatly reduced.
Winders said the street sweeper needs to be added to the list of items to be sold.
The measure passed unanimously.
The May meeting minutes were reviewed and approved along with the Accounts Payable.
Chief Laird gave an abatement process update. He talked to the aldermen about three types of nuisances the City deals with on a regular basis. Those include property maintenance (trash), grass/weeds (taller than eight inches triggers a possible abatement), along with damaged, disabled or abandoned vehicles.
He discussed the process of reaching the residents to give them the abatement notice. Eleven days are given to correct the problem.
In some cases the street department has had to cut grass at properties where abatement notices have not been addressed.
City Attorney Amy Rost followed with a brief summary of the process for court charges. She said most of the cases that head to court involve trash/property maintenance. A retirement reception for Chief Laird will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. on June 16 in the Lange Building.