Tuesday, March 03, 2009
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City: Police department restructure approved; federal funds to help secure City Hall; and more city business

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[March 03, 2009] 

Police department restructures officer rank

The council unanimously approved amending the officer structure for the police department as requested by Police Chief Stuart Erlenbush.

The previous structure called for eight sergeants, which included two sergeant detectives, and four corporals.

The new amendment calls for five sergeants, five corporals and two detectives from any rank. The biggest change is that the detectives do not have to be chosen from or moved to the rank of sergeant.

Last week Erlenbush explained that the department was too top-heavy and this structure would change that. On the recommended detective change, he said, "There's no correlation between what makes a good supervisor and what makes a good detective."

Grant to aid in securing City Hall

Alderwoman Joni Tibbs said she received a call last Friday from congressman Aaron Schock, representative of the 18th District, telling her that a grant that was applied for in the mid part of 2008 would be awarded to the city of Lincoln.


The grant, in the amount of $25,000, is to be used to increase the level of security at City Hall.

In May of 2008, Bob Shattuck of JH Petty Architects visited with members of the building and grounds committee. He had toured the building, taken notes on what would be needed and said that he would be working with George Alarm Co. to determine what type of alarm and surveillance system might be needed.

The decision of the council to increase the security at City Hall was in reaction to a city hall shooting that resulted in several deaths in a suburb of St. Louis earlier in 2008.

Gehlbach sworn in as city clerk

Alderwoman Melody Anderson made a motion that Susan Gehlbach be appointed as city clerk until the swearing-in of a newly elected clerk in May. Alderwoman Marty Neitzel seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

Immediately following the vote, Gehlbach was sworn in by city attorney Bill Bates.

A second motion was made and passed that Gehlbach's pay should be increased to that of a newly elected clerk until she relinquishes the position in May and that she would receive back pay for the position retroactive to Feb. 10.

Gehlbach offered a brief thank-you to Bates, Mayor Beth Davis-Kavelman, Resa Riggs, the council, city department heads and her family for all of their help and support as she's adjusted to the new responsibilities as acting city clerk.

80 hours of service added to accounting software contract

The council voted to add up to 80 hours of additional service, at a cost of $150 per hour, to the contract with WTI.

Laura Wernsing has been spending time at the city clerk's office assisting with software applications and training since the resignation of Melanie Riggs as city clerk in early February.

At last week's council meeting, Anderson and Gehlbach told members that Wernsing's assistance has been invaluable and that she will be needed for a while yet as the city prepares to adopt a new budget and gets ready for the audit season.

Habitat's Dahmm Corner approved

After a few moments of confusion as to the exact location, the council voted to allow the Habitat for Humanity chapter in Lincoln to place an honorary street sign at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Hamilton Street.

The sign would be placed above the official street names and read "Habitat's Dahmm Corner." The name was chosen in honor of George Dahmm, who has been working with Habitat since the chapter's inception in the early 1990s.

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Eagle Scouts recognized

Trevor Erickson, Matthew Mason, Corey Jansen, William Grover and Jamie White, members of the Scout Troop 102 from Lincoln, were introduced to the council as having achieved their Eagle Scout designation. Each of these young men will receive a letter of commendation from the council.

As a portion of the requirements for becoming an Eagle Scout, each boy must plan, organize and direct a project of significant value to the community. This can include not only working on the project, but raising the funds to complete it as well.

Some of the projects this year were bleachers for the baseball field at Zion Lutheran School, picnic tables and benches for Maple Ridge Care Centre, new desks for Carroll Catholic School, and participation in building a Habitat for Humanity house.

Zoning changed for the old Kroger-CVS property

Following the recommendation of the Lincoln Planning Commission, the council voted unanimously to change the zoning for portions of the old Kroger-CVS property, located at 530-534 Woodlawn Road, from C-1 to C-2, so that the entire property is C-2.

The planning commission met on Feb. 19 and heard a request from the property owners, Lincoln Illinois RX.

Previously the property had a split zoning of C-1 and C-2. The C-2 designation is a "heavy commercial, but not industrial" rating. Lincoln Illinois RX feels the building will be more marketable with the heavier commercial rating.

Other business

The bid from Integrity Holdings of Lincoln in the amount of $4,500 for the purchase of the city's old fire truck was officially accepted. One other bid was received but came in lower.

A petition for sidewalk repair at 511 Omaha was approved.

A petition for tree removal at 1104 Pulaski St. was approved with Alderman Buzz Busby abstaining. Busby said that he should abstain from voting because the petition was placed by his grandson.

Alderwoman Kathy Horn said that she has been approached with a question about why the city website does not include a meeting schedule for the council. The mayor said that she would make a note to add the schedule to the website.

Representing the Lincoln City Council during their Monday night "order of business" meeting were eight of the 10 members, with Wanda Lee Rohlfs and Verl Prather absent for the evening.

Among the visitors at the meeting were the primary election winners who would be new to the council by winning the April 7 election: mayoral candidate Keith Snyder, along with Nathan Turner and David Wilmert, candidates for alderman in wards 4 and 2 respectively.



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