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Maple Park moves forward with interviews for police chief position

MAPLE PARK – The village of Maple Park's Personnel and Communications Committee held a special meeting Nov. 7 to discuss filling two personnel positions.

“The meeting was just to prep for later this month with the holidays approaching and establishing interview timelines for open staff positions,” committee member and chair JP Dries said. “We reviewed resumes received for the posted police chief position. We will have five people come in for initial interviews with the board this month.”

The new police chief will replace Tony Ayala, who resigned from his duties and last served the village Sept. 15. In the interim, former Maple Park Police Chief Mike Acosta, who retired in summer 2016, is serving in place of Ayala.

“The plan is to move forward with interviewing the applicants and to hopefully have a new police chief in place by the first of the year," Village President Kathy Curtis said. “You’ve got to have a goal and that’s ours so we’re now moving forward with the process.”

There were also discussions about the public works assistant position, which also needs to be filled. There are two candidates who will be interviewed for a final time before a decision is made.

“We are hoping to have the new person start Dec. 11,” Dries said. “[Then, they can] train before the current person retires at the end of the year.”

The usual monthly board meeting preceded the special meeting, which included an introduction of DeKalb County Economic Development Coordinator Jolene Willis.

“She discussed some of the different services she could provide, and there are some grant opportunities through her office,” Curtis said. “Some of these are specifically for smaller communities like ours so we will definitely be following up.”

Willis has been in her position since late May, and this was her first opportunity to introduce herself to the Maple Park Village Board.

“I just want to enhance our communication and let them know how we can be a resource and of technical assistance, especially to smaller communities like Maple Park, Shabbona and Waterman,” Willis said. “The DeKalb County Community Foundation’s economic development grants are tremendous opportunities, with $20,000 set aside to assist with economic development and that’s a tremendous amount of money for planning work or if they have a project in play and are going toward implementation. It’s really open-ended in range and scope but has to be approved by the foundation.”

In other news, the Village Board approved the purchase of a 2017 Interceptor sedan, not to exceed $32,000, for the police department.

“This was a planned purchase that we had been exploring for several months now already,” Curtis said. “JP Dries researched all of the possibilities so that we could bring in a new car for the fleet.”

Lastly, the Infrastructure Committee meeting that was scheduled for Nov. 14 has been canceled, but the committee will meet again Dec. 12.

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