EFFINGHAM – The officers and telecommunicators of the Effingham Police Department have overwhelmingly passed a no confidence vote against Police Chief Jeff Fuesting, according to a press release.
The release said the action indicates, "the employees who serve under Fuesting feel he is no longer fit to hold the position."
Twenty five of the 26 patrol officers and telecommunications staff passed the no confidence vote over a two-day period, April 24 - 25. The vote has no legal standing, but is a way to publicly indicate that relations between the police chief and his employees have reached the breaking point, the release said.
The officers and telecommunicators are represented by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Labor Council and are members of FOP Lodge 209. Probationary employees did not participate in the no confidence vote.
"The Effingham Police Department employees took this rare vote because they have serious integrity concerns pertaining to the chief,” FOP Labor Council Executive Director Shawn Roselieb said in the press release. “Our field staff and members of FOP Lodge 209 have repeatedly talked to Chief Fuesting about violating contractual provisions, unfair employee treatment, and hostile work place incidents. Rather than try to improve employee relations, Fuesting has enlisted the support of several sympathetic city officials to try and put the blame elsewhere.”
The vote comes as talk continues to circulate that the incoming mayor and city council plan to oust Fuesting, who declined to discuss the vote on Sunday but said he might comment on Monday.
Meanwhile, a digital billboard along South Banker Street displays a message supporting Fuesting. The sign, situated near Kiefer Landscaping, is owned by Encore Digitals. The ad was paid for by an anonymous person, said Sydney Zacha with Encore Digitals.
“Support Chief Fuesting, May 7th 6 p.m., Show Up, City Council Meeting,” the highly visible sign reads.
In a recent interview, Fuesting said he’s had an outpouring of support from the community, as has his family.
“Growing up in Effingham, I learned quickly how we as a community stick together,” said Fuesting. “I am proud that I have become a leader that this community believes in and one they will rally behind.”
The Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council is a law enforcement union representing more than 12,000 professionals in more than 514 bargaining units who work in the criminal justice system.
The Labor Council negotiates and enforces contracts and improves salaries, working conditions, and benefits for law enforcement professionals throughout Illinois. Its members include police officers who work for municipalities, universities, and elected Constitutional officials; county sheriff’s deputies, correctional and court security officers; probation officers; 911 telecommunicators; law enforcement records personnel; and some related support staff.