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New officers sworn-in




New Fairbury Police officers Alex Ruiz, left, and Gary Lisewski are sworn-in by Chief Robert McCormick at City Hall.

Two new Fairbury police officers were sworn in during Wednesday night’s regular city council meeting.


Chief Robert McCormick administered the oath to Gary Lisewski and Alex Ruiz – two recent police academy graduates. Both have been busy field training, according to the chief. Lisewski and Ruiz were both presented with challenge coins, in recognition of special achievement.


The front side includes a Fairbury Police Department patch with the U.S. flag and the reverse side has a family crest representing the two being officers in Fairbury and members of the law enforcement community as a whole.


“You are now held to a higher standard and must always be aware of it,” said McCormick. “Congratulations on your new career.”


Also at Wednesday’s meeting, complaints surfaced over an idling train engine in town. Alderman Charles Hoselton has heard concerns from city residents.


“They sat there all night Monday,” noted Hoselton.


Street Superintendent Martin Steidinger said the railroad is using Fairbury as a drop-off point.


“I’ll see what I can find out with TP&W,” said City Superintendent Brett Ashburn.


Mayor David Slagel does not believe the city has a way of enforcing anything but acknowledges calls are being made.


“I think all we can do is ask,” he said.


Vandalism at Marsh Park was another talking point. Alderman Steve Endres said he confronted several youth who had “no fear.” If members of the public notice anything, they are urged to call the non-emergency police line at 815-692-3351. This goes to central dispatch.


“The word needs to get out to the youth in this town that we are not going to tolerate it,” Endres commented.


During the city superintendent update, Ashburn reported an inspector visited the swimming pool and everything went well, noting the season as a whole has gone beautifully. The pool’s last full day is slated for Saturday, Aug. 15 with cleanup day on Aug. 16 before closing for the season.


In the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Wayne Varner praised city employees for keeping operations going during COVID-19 and recent storms. Streets remained clean and garbage pickup continued.


“They did a good job getting this city back in shape fast,” Varner observed.


Varner would like to see a bonus for all city employees.


Following an executive session, the council approved amending the pay ordinance to provide raises for city staff.


“We’ve been planning, trying to budget and come to a consensus on it for quite some time,” explained Mayor Slagel.


The city was about to the point of implementing the changes earlier this year when COVID-19 hit and leaders held off on the decision. Slagel said the city has always had great benefits but the younger hires are looking more at paychecks. The hope is to retain the younger employees long-term.


“We were a little under competitive with the surrounding markets in our pay,” Slagel added.


Slagel noted it is both operationally and financially sound to be able to keep staff rather than re-hiring and training new employees.


Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the Fairbury City Council:


-Purchased a Suspended Solids probe for the wastewater department in the amount of $2,998 from GAI.


-Granted a request from Alma Brown and family to place a park bench in Marsh Park to honor the memory of Chuck Brown.


-Amended parts of the municipal code related to sewer and water rates along with charges. This is a clean-up procedure, clarifying where things stand currently.


-Approved the July 15 meeting minutes, invoice register and overtime report.

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