Yates named police chief

DANVILLE – The new extended deadline is Wednesday for casino proposals, but Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. says don’t expect any update at tonight’s city council meeting.

Williams said on Monday no casino update is expected because nothing has changed from the last one given.

Also according to Vermilion Advantage’s President and CEO Vicki Haugen, there will be no further discussions publicly until after the final deadline, which is midnight Wednesday.

The Danville City Council tonight is expected to approve the appointments of Acting Police Chief Chris Yates as permanent police chief, Sam Cole as city engineer and Cydney Boyd to the Danville Public Library Board.

Williams says there was no additional search for a permanent police chief.

“Although I interviewed the other commanders for the interim public safety director position, Chief Yates demonstrated during his time in that position and as acting police chief that he has the character, leadership and vision needed to help our police department and city achieve our highest potential. Therefore, I am honored that he has agreed to be our permanent police chief,” according to Williams.

Yates became interim public safety director after replacing Danville Public Safety Director Larry Thomason. Thomason retired at the end of March after serving almost 49 years with the city.

Yates then became acting police chief in May after city officials approved reverting back to police and fire chiefs.

At that time Williams said the appointment lengths were to be determined due to union negotiations and the hiring processes. Job descriptions, finances and salary ranges and other issues also needed to be worked out for the permanent police and fire chief positions, he previously said. Acting Fire Chief is Don McMasters.

Yates’ salary is $125,000. Thomason’s salary had been $68,929. The city had re-hired former police officer Thomason to the civilian position of public safety director. Thomason also received his pension while as director.

Yates has been in law enforcement for 24 years. He started with the Vermilion County Metropolitan Enforcement Group in 1995. He was sworn in with the DPD in 1997 and he’s served as a patrolman, COPS Officer, field training officer, sergeant in patrol and in investigations, promoted to commander in 2005, Emergency Response Unit Commander since 2005 and member of the Internal Affairs Unit.

He was born in Danville and is a 1990 graduate from Bismarck-Henning. Yates has a criminal justice degree from Danville Area Community College and an administration of justice degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He also served six years in the Illinois National Guard-Infantry.

Also tonight, city council members are expected to act on an amendment to city code pertaining to intoxicating liquor and video gaming revenue.

The liquor ordinance change “grandfathers in existing license holders but requires new license holders not to receive more than 49 percent of their revenue from gaming,” according to Williams.

Some bar owners including The Pub’s Drew Rush and Dale’s Place’s Greg Filicsky were concerned about the city ordinance language causing some bars to close.

Williams said that was never the intent and city officials have wanted to prevent standalone video gaming cafes.

Filicsky said he’d still not like to see the video gaming cafes because they would hurt local clubs/organizations and businesses.

In other business, the council will consider:

• Purchasing a 2020 New Way Sidewinder automated refuse truck for $274,520 from Rantoul Truck Center through the National Joint Powers Alliance state contract. Funding comes from the city’s solid waste fund for other capital equipment.

• Approving a $21,800 engineering contract with Donohue and Associates of Champaign for the Poland Road pump station rehabilitation, and a sewer budget amendment.

• Approving submission of a grant application for a $37,204 2019 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for the city. The city’s portion will be $20,834 and Vermilion County’s portion will be $16,370. The city’s funds will be used to pay overtime costs for focused patrols in high crime areas where gang and gun violence have historically been known to occur.

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