September 29, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Solomon Islands: City Government: Aurora Beacon News: Weisner administration is in the midst of an extended holding pattern

Peace Corps Online: State: Illinois: February 8, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Illinois : September 29, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Solomon Islands: City Government: Aurora Beacon News: Weisner administration is in the midst of an extended holding pattern

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-66-59.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.66.59) on Friday, October 07, 2005 - 12:38 pm: Edit Post

Weisner administration is in the midst of an extended holding pattern

Weisner administration is in the midst of an extended holding pattern

The wholesale housecleaning seemed a clear sign, as the always-observant Alderman Chris Beykirch said at the time, that there was "a new mayor in town." But 4 ½ months later, Weisner has yet to name permanent successors for any of the forced-out department heads, with interim placeholders still running day-to-day operations. Tom Weisner, elected mayor of Aurora, IL in 2005, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Solomon Islands.

Weisner administration is in the midst of an extended holding pattern

Weisner stuck in state of flux

Less than three weeks after being sworn in as mayor, Tom Weisner hit the ground running on Friday, May 13 (the choice of date wasn't intentional, I'm sure) with the dismissals of a half-dozen high-ranking city staffers who, for various reasons, had proven themselves expendable.

Gone were corporation counsel Pat Supergan, neighborhood development director Charles Huff, water superintendent Arnie Eggleston, youth services director Ron Ford and ACTV director Lyle Rolfe.

Airport director/public works director Bob Reiser was also let go, only to be rehired a few weeks later as airport manager only.

The wholesale housecleaning seemed a clear sign, as the always-observant Alderman Chris Beykirch said at the time, that there was "a new mayor in town." But 4 ½ months later, Weisner has yet to name permanent successors for any of the forced-out department heads, with interim placeholders still running day-to-day operations.

In the meantime, he's also lost a fire chief with the Aug. 5 retirement of Roger Probst, while Police Chief Bill Lawler announced he will leave the department for a new job at the College of DuPage by the end of October.

Add to that the still-vacant chief-of-staff's office (more on that later), and it's abundantly clear that the Weisner administration is in the midst of an extended holding pattern.

Of course, there's no reason to believe that any of the new mayor's interim appointees are anything but capable and qualified professionals. In the end, some of them might even see the "interim" lopped off their job titles. But until those decisions are made, it will be difficult for Weisner to implement any of the systemic changes that he talked about so often during his campaign.

You can't overhaul the legal department or make changes at police headquarters without a corporation counsel or police chief in place. And you can't expect interim department heads to have their offices running efficiently when their employees know there'll be a new boss in town someday soon.

The lack of progress has also frustrated many of Weisner's supporters, who were promised that his first term would be one of decisive action. Instead, the new mayor has spent the better part of the summer running in place with well-intentioned but far-from-earth-shattering initiatives like putting E85 fuel in city vehicles and city inspectors on bikes.

Thankfully, help appears to be on the way.

Sources say Weisner is poised to name retired Fox Valley Park District Director Bob Vaughan as his new chief of staff, ending months of speculation as to who would fill this key post as the mayor's top advisor.

Allies have reportedly been pushing Weisner to find a "strong personality' for the job, and Vaughn a tell-it-like-it-is guy would seem to fit the bill. He won't be a yes-man. What's more, Vaughan would also bring years of hiring experience that could prove invaluable to Weisner as he seeks to fill the other key City Hall vacancies.

Meanwhile, the mayor also faces decisions on two other third-floor employees one he inherited and one he brought along for the ride. Bill Catching, the former assistant chief-of-staff to Mayor David Stover, continues to float around City Hall, serving in various roles but without any definitive job title or set of responsibilities. Will he find a permanent home in the Weisner administration?

And then there's Gerry Galloway, Weisner's former campaign manager who landed on the city payroll as a "special assistant to the mayor." But with that role soon to be filled formally, does Galloway have a lasting role with the city?

Only time will tell, of course. But for Weisner's sake and the city's let's hope this period of indecision comes to an end soon.

- Ed Fanselow covers state and local politics and Aurora City Hall for The Beacon News. He can be reached at (630) 844-5957 or efanselow@scn1.com.

9/27/05





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Story Source: Aurora Beacon News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Solomon Islands; City Government

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