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Pekin City Council parts ways with finance director after HR inquiry

The Pekin city council has approved a separation agreement with finance director and former interim city manager Bruce Marston.

Marston was removed from that interim role after a human resources investigation into his treatment of employees.

Full terms of the agreement weren't immediately available, but police chief and interim city manager John Dossey said it was mostly in line with what's in the city employee handbook.

"The only other thing was I think his retirement fund. That was it as far as that goes. And I believe that it was about $84,000 total that was owed to him," Dossey said.

City attorney Kate Swise said Marston was only a couple years from retirement eligibility in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Council members Becky Cloyd, Rick Hilst, and Dave Nutter voted no. They argued they didn't get enough time to review the agreement ahead of the council meeting.

Alternative site considered for community gymnasium

Pekin developer Randy Price says he's considering an alternate location on 2nd Street for his community gymnasium concept.

Price bought a city parcel on Court Street for his project. That land was also sought by Tazewell County for a new Justice Center annex it wants to build on the sites of the adjacent Arcade and Tobin buildings to ease overcrowding in the current courthouse.

"My intent was not to start a war here. I think we need to come to terms," Price said. "The whole purpose was to bring people downtown. The whole purpose was to help kids."

Price said the 2nd Street site solves the issues with the county and with parking, but it'll also cost him more out of pocket if he goes forward with it. Dossey said the next step is for the city to continue discussions with Price.

The county has put out bids for demolition of the Tobin and Arcade buildings.

Ethics commission appears likely to go away, but replacement is matter of debate

The Pekin City Council appears poised to eliminate its ethics commission based off conversations between members at Monday night's meeting, but it's unclear if they will replace it with a hearing officer, or allow the council to police itself.

Pekin Mayor Mary Burress is in favor of a hearing officer model.

"I feel with a hearing officer, we are separating everyone's personality here and letting an outsider listen to the concerns, if there is any, and make the decision for us," she said.

The city council would then have the final say on taking any action based on a hearing officer's recommendations.

But other members say they're concerned the hearing officer would be over-empowered and potentially biased, and they believe the council is capable of enforcing an ethics code among colleagues.

Members generally agreed the current ethics commission model wasn't working.

Council member Dave Nutter, the swing vote, says he's remaining neutral on the issue for right now.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.