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Gillespie approves contract with Fraternal Order of Police

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Gillespie Police Department

Meeting in special session Wednesday night, the Gillespie City Council voted unanimously to sign a contract with the Fraternal Order of Police which, for the first time, includes dispatchers as part of the FOP’s bargaining unit and authorizes city employees to participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund for retirement purposes. The IMRF provision is expected to make the city more competitive in recruiting and retaining police officers.

The action followed a 20-minute executive session during which council members discussed details of the contract. The council had deferred action on the contract from its regular monthly meeting last week to give aldermen time to review the contract.

The new contract is retroactive to Jan. 1 and will expire May 31, 2025. The truncated term of the contract is to make contracts congruent for both police officers and dispatchers. Dispatchers reportedly voted among themselves last spring to switch from the Laborers Union to the FOP for collective bargaining. The new contract marks the first time both police officers and dispatchers are covered by the same contract and same bargaining unit.

Apart from the IMRF provision and the inclusion of dispatchers, the contract differs only slightly from previous contracts. It calls for relatively modest salary increases for patrol persons and dispatchers over the life of the contract with those raises scheduled to take effect on June 1 of each year. Starting salary for new officers is set at $22 per hour this year, and will increase to $22.50 in the second year and $23 in the third year. Wages for officers with one year of service will increase from $22.25 per hour currently to $23.25 at the end of the contract. Those with two years of service will earn $22.50 per hour, set to increase to $23.50 by the start of the third year. Other increases for longevity are comparable over the life of the contract.

Starting wages for dispatchers are set at $16 per hour, with longevity steps ranging to $20.50 per hour for dispatchers with 21 years of service under their belt. Starting wages for dispatchers jumps to $18 per hour in the second year of the contract.

As a result of the IMRF provision, the city will no longer contribute to 401K investment plans for its police officers, which will help defray the contributions the city must make to IMRF to cover retirement plans. A referendum last year to impose a property tax for IMRF funding failed to pass, meaning the city will have to use existing revenue to cover its 12.5 percent contribution to IMRF. Those annual costs are expected to be in the neighborhood of $150,000 annually.

State law prohibits the city from offering IMRF benefits to only a select classification of employee. In a separate action, the council approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Laborers Local 338, the union representing Street Department employees and other city employees, to extend IMRF benefits to all city workers.

In a related matter, on a motion by Ald. Landon Pettit, the council voted to allow city employees to transfer their 401K investment to IMRF without seeking approval from the city.

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“This way, they can just come up to city hall and not have to go through the Mayor or city council,” Pettit said.

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Court News

Macoupin County Courthouse News

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Cases filed during July 7 through July 13. Visit the “Court News” category under the “Community News” tab for other editions.

FELONIES

Timothy D. Conlee, 29 of Gillespie, is charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving in connection with a July 6 incident.

Dylan J. Arview, 25 of Benld, is charged with driving under the influence while license revoked or suspending, DUI, driving on a suspended license and driving 15-20 mph above the limit in connection with a July 5 incident.

Bobby L. Walker, 35 of Sorento, is charged with driving revoked/suspended with a DUI, driving on revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, displayed registration plate, and expired registration in connection with a June 27 incident.

Dustin W. Gooch, 34 of Beecher City, is charged with aggravated fleeing/bodily injury, unlawful display of a title, improper use of registration/title, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and registration light in connection with a June 17 incident.

MISDEMEANORS

Jordan A. Black, 24 of Gillespie, is charged with battery/causing bodily harm in connection with a July 8 incident.

Dustin R. Stieglitz, 37 of Shipman, is charged with aggravated assault/use of a deadly weapon in connection to a June 29 incident.

Steven A. Kroll, 33 of Eagarville, is charged with resisting a peace officer, fire fighter, or corrections employee in connection with a June 26 incident.

TRAFFIC

David B. Brown, 58 of Virden, is charged with cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a July 3 incident.

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Jennifer L. Roberts, 47 of Worden, is charged with driving on a suspended license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with July 5 incident.

Andrew L. Connoyer, 31 of Bethalto, is charged with improper use of registration, driving 15-20 mph above the limit, and no valid registration in connection with July 7 incident.

Megan E. Bertoldi, 37 of Gillespie, is charged with leaving the scene in connection with July 11 incident.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE FILED

  • Tasha McQuay versus David McQuay

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Community News

School board disciplines staff member; hires AD and Student Services Coordinator

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In a relatively brief meeting Monday night, the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education approved a “resolution of remedial warning” against an unidentified district teacher, and hired a new Student Services Coordinator and Athletic Director.

The actions followed an 80-minute executive session during which board members presumably primarily discussed personnel issues. The regular monthly meeting of the board was moved up by one week to fill key positions, such as the Athletic Director and Student Services Coordinator, prior to the start of the school year next month. The district was taken by surprise when former Student Services Coordinator Stephanie Bray and Athletic Director Mike Bertagnolli both announced their retirements within days of each other.

Supt. Shane Owsley said the resolution of remedial warning is a disciplinary action representing “a second strike, so to speak.” Neither the teacher or the nature of the infraction was disclosed in open session.

In other action, the board, voted unanimously to hire Shelsie Timmermeier as the district’s Student Services Coordinator for the 2024-25 school year, stepping into the vacancy created by Bray’s retirement, pending confirmation of certification and a background check. In a separate action, the board also appointed Timmermeier as an assistant high school women’s volleyball coach.

Jeremy Smith was hired, also by a unanimous vote, as the district’s Athletic Director for the 2024-25 school year. In a related matter, Smith’s resignation as middle school head baseball coach was accepted. Additionally, the board posted the coaching position as vacant for the coming school year.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Dennis Tiburzi, the board hired Alex Jasper as a high school social science teacher for the coming school year. The board also voted unanimously to hire Tate Wargo as a first-year, non-tenured physical education instructor, pending confirmation of certification. Both positions were vacated as a result of the sudden resignation of Dalton Barnes in April as head football coach, physical education teacher and social science teacher. 

In related matters, the board also hired Wargo Monday night as an eighth grade boy’s basketball coach, and accepted Jasper’s resignation as a district paraprofessional and posted the position as vacant.

In other personnel action, the board:

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  • Hired Amanda Ewin as a one-on-one aide.
  • Hired Anthony Kravanya as a freshman men’s basketball coach.
  • Appointed Melissa Heigert as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach.

In other action, the board gave routine approval to a list of policies provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Supt. Owsley also provided a brief update on the progress being made on safety projects expected to be completed before the start of the school year, including installation of a new intercom system, a card-reader entry system and shatter-proof protective film on exterior windows.

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Community News

Gillespie Library, United Community Bank to host Fraud and Scam Prevention seminar on July 22

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Gillespie Public Library (Photo by Gillespie Public Library)

Friends of the Gillespie Public Library and United Community Bank are hosting a joint “Fraud and Scam Prevention” seminar at on Monday, July 22 starting at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Public Library.

The seminar will focus on today’s common scams and frauds, which includes imposter and check scams, money mule fraud and those that target seniors. Presenters will be Jenni Alepra of Gillespie UCB and Kennen Bertolis of Carlinville UCB.

The seminar is open to the public and is free of charge. For additional questions, call the Gillespie Public Library at 217-839-3614.

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