People, Places And Political Races In This Week’s City Beat

Editor Paul Osborne

     I COULDN’T help but notice in glancing over newly-hired City Manager Scot Wrighton’s contract with the City of Decatur one of the reasons listed for termination of his job —DEATH!     Like a lot of other “contract language” I’m sure there is a legal reason for that being listed as one of the reasons for “termination” — meaning he can’t continue on the job or collect a paycheck.     I certainly wish the new city manager a very long and healthy life — and many years of success in Decatur — but it is for certain, according to the contract approved by the city council last week, he will be terminated, and can’t continue as city manager, if he passes away.

     • IT MAY have been decided and made public by the time you read this column but the city council will have to appoint another interim city manager until the new city manager starts his job in Decatur.     That’s because present interim city manager Billy Tyus will start to work in Bloomington at his new position in February so there will be some time when another interim city manager will have to assume the duties during the going of Tyus and the coming of Wrighton.     

     Why not just keep the position open for the short time between managers?     You can’t do that because someone has to be selected to assume the role as city manager in order for our government to remain “legal”.     There cannot be a gap. I would guess that a senior staff member will be appointed by the council to fill that role until the new city manager starts on the job.          

     As I recall, Gregg D. Zientara, City Treasurer & Director of Finance, filled that position after former City Manager Ryan McCrady took the position as head of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur. I can’t recall ever having two interim city managers between the departure of one city manager and the arrival of another — but there is a first time for everything.

     • FUNDRAISER: Jerry Dawson and David Wilhour wil host a fundraiser for Lisa Gregory on Monday, January 28th, from 5:30pm-7:00pm, at Sol Bistro, 237 North Main in Decatur.  Gregory is running for re-election to the city council. Contributions are $50 for individuals and $75 for couples. Checks should be mailed to: 420 Hackberry Dr., Decatur, Illinois 62521.

     • AS WE ARE going to press this week, newly-elected State Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) is announcing his“Outreach 101” Initiative at a news conference which fulfills a campaign pledge made by Caulkins to not accept a legislative salary.  Good for him. Keeping a campaign pledge is a good start for our representative.

     • SERVICES for retired Decatur Police Officer Bryant J. “BJ” Baum, 91, of Sahuarita, AZ, formerly of Decatur, were held at Graceland / Fairlawn Funeral Home in Decatur Monday. (Obituary was in last week’s print edition.).  BJ and his wife, Jean, were close friends of my late brother, Sam, and his wife.  Now, all have passed away.

     Additionally, Michael E. Baum Elementary School on Decatur’s east side, was named in honor of BJ and Jean’s son, who was killed on July 18, 1970 in the Vietnam War.


     • I JOIN 1340 WSOY’s Brian Byers & Co. each Thursday morning at 7:00 for a one hour discussion about some of the items in this column and more news in the City Hall Insider portion of his program.

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