The Frankfort City Council approved an ordinance amending the residency requirements of department heads for the City of Frankfort Monday night.
“Now, the city department heads may reside in Clinton County,” said Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes. “I don’t think it should become commonplace. Rather, it should be greatly the exception. But I think there are times when we need to pull from a deeper talent pool to find an individual who is qualified to run our various departments.”
The situation came up when McBarnes announced early Monday morning that Travis Sheets was going to become the new Frankfort Parks Superintendent pending a change in the ordinance which previously stated all department heads working for the City of Frankfort must live in the city. Sheets lives in Clinton County.
Councilman Joe Palmer made a motion to suspend the rules and pass the ordinance on all three readings. In order to do this, all of the council must vote in favor of suspending the rules. Councilman Jim Moyer said he was against the change, but added he would not hold up the recommendation. Councilman Lewis Wheeler also said he was against the measure and would not be in favor of the change.
However, Wheeler elected to abstain when it came for his turn to vote and the motion passed 5-0 with the one abstention. City Attorney Les Bergum said as long as no ‘nay’ votes were cast, it was all right to move forward with changing the ordinance.
McBarnes added the council had been discussing the matter. However, he said the situation at the Parks Department simply prompted this to get done sooner rather than later.
In other news, the city council elected to turn down a request made by the Utility Service Board to sell Veterans Park to Center Township. McBarnes said the council decided to “politely decline” the request basically so the property would stay in “friendly hands.” McBarnes said the Veterans Park property is a very important piece of property that they want to keep in their control.
The council also approved two resolutions. The first will allow Frankfort Plastics to acquire the building formerly owned by R&A at the corner of County Road 200 West and Barner Avenue and clean up the property. McBarnes said this was the biggest eyesore in the Frankfort Industrial Park area. The building burned three to four years ago and had been abandoned. Attorney Jay Moore, who was representing Frankfort Plastics, said the clean up would create 10 to 15 new jobs.
The other resolution designated the area across from Walmart to become an economic revitalization area and allow the owners of the Ellipsis Frankfort Medical Office LLC to move ahead with their plans to build a new facility which would have doctors from Witham and St. Vincent and offer services, such as radiology, not currently available in Frankfort and Clinton County.
Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shan Sheridan this would be a “great medical complex for our community.”