EFFINGHAM — New Effingham Police Chief Jason McFarland took steps toward reorganizing the department when he appointed his Deputy Chief Kurt Davis during this week's Effingham City Council meeting.
McFarland replaced former Chief Jeff Fuesting, who was not reappointed by the new council early in May; and Davis replaces Deputy Chief Danny Lake, who retired after 28 years in law enforcement the day before the new council took their seats.
Davis, formerly a sergeant and a part of the Effingham Police Department for the past 15 years, has served in patrol, as a swat team officer, a range officer, a field training officer and in other duties, said McFarland.
The new deputy chief's badge was pinned on by his wife, Jami, which is a long-time police tradition. He and his wife have two children. Davis is the son of Alan and Sharon Davis, and the grandson of slain Illinois State Police Trooper Layton Davis.
Davis will supervise the patrol section of the police department and will coordinate the training schedule for the department to ensure that we are in compliance with state mandates, McFarland said.
“I have worked with Kurt for 17 years at the Effingham Police Department,” said McFarland on Wednesday. “Kurt is a proven leader who cares deeply for this community and this department. He has earned the respect of his peers and will be outstanding in his role as Deputy Chief.”
In other related matters, the council approved the appointment of Second Assistant Fire Chief Howard Janis. Janis has been a member of the paid on call for the past 27 years. He had been the second lieutenant, until Tuesday.
Fire Chief Bob Tutko named a replacement as the Second Assistant Fire Chief Howard Janis. He will replace long-serving Jim Wolters who recently retired after 50 years with the fire department.
Tutko said Janis will be responsible for helping the chief administer the paid on call firefighters and be the liaison between the chief and the paid on call department.
Tutko also introduced a new full-time firefighter Ben Siemer, who had been a paid on call firefighter until he became a fulltime firefighter for Olney, before returning to Effingham. In addition, Tyler Veatch and Aaron Mason were appointed as two new paid on-call firefighters.
During Tuesday's meeting, Mayor Mike Schutzbach made some appointments to various boards:
• Reappointed were Dave Ring, Betsy Yager, and Angie Jones and newly appointed was John McHugh to the Tourism Advisory Board with their three-year terms set to expire May 1, 2022.
• Reappointed Dave Storm to a three-year term on the Fire and Police Commission and newly appointed Jim Wolters to fulfill Commissioner Larry Micenheimer's term set to expire May 1, 2021.
• Reappointed John Richards to the Police Pension Board for a two-year term set to expire May 1, 2021.
In other matters, the council:
• Approved was the start time for regular City Council Meetings on the first and third Tuesday of the month to 5 p.m.
• Agreed to temporarily close down some city streets for the Fourth of July fireworks on July 4, with a rain date of July 5 for the Effingham Noon Rotary sponsored fireworks to be held at Effingham High School, 1301 W. Grove. Also, the council approved a donation of $15,000 to the Rotary for support. The sponsors request closure of all roads and entrances for West Grove at Raney Street; West Grove at Schwerman Street; Lange at Fayette Avenue and Schwerman Street at U.S. Route 40, from noon to 10:30 p.m.
• Authorized the purchase of four Christmas light displays from Temple Display, LTD for the amount of $34,447.38.
• Approved an agreement for engineering services with Milano & Grunloh Engineers, LLC in the total amount of $37,000 for the Second Street Reconstruction Project from Fayette Avenue to National Avenue. Payment for this project will be funded by Central TIF.
• Heard that Effingham Asphalt has completed phase I of the North Henrietta Street Reconstruction at a total cost of $497,593.48.
• Heard that Swingler Construction has completed the Central Fire Station Modifications at a total cost of $32,405.
• Approved closure of a street for a Blessings in a Backpack fundraiser. The event will be held from Banker to Jefferson to Section Avenue for a "Point 1K" event, July 20. The closure will be from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Dawn Schabbing can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-347-7151, ext. 138