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Pekin City Council fractures over policy before confirming John Dossey as next city manager

John Dossey will drop the "interim" from his city manager title after a divided Pekin City Council voted to permanently hire him for the job.

Dossey, who currently also serves as Pekin police chief, will start on as the full-time city manager on Nov. 6. The decision comes more than 10 months after former city manager Mark Rothert was fired.

"I've heard a lot of the questions and concerns that have come from the public as well as from this council," Dossey said after the vote. "So I look forward to trying to start a new day tomorrow and start fixing some of those things, and solutions, and understand it's not an individual effort, it is a team effort."

Dossey has served as the interim city manager for the past three months. He succeeded former interim city manager and finance director Bruce Marston, who left city government after human resources complaints from his employees.

Dossey was one of two finalists for the position. Quincy director of administrative services Jeff Mays was the other candidate.

City council members on Monday night largely agreed that Dossey has worked out well on an interim basis. The objections raised were procedural in nature.

Council member Rick Hilst objected to Dossey's contractually-guaranteed use of a unmarked city-owned vehicle in his role as city manager, and said the council should be receiving resumes that are still coming in from prospective candidates.

Others, including council member Becky Cloyd, were bothered because the final version of Dossey's employment contract had only arrived for review that morning. Her motion to lay over the vote for two weeks to give council members a chance to read over the latest contract was defeated 4-3.

City attorney Katherine Swise said the new contract had only changed the word "automobile" to "vehicle."

Cloyd and council member Karen Hohimer got into a heated exchange, wherein Cloyd suggested Hohimer should read "Robert's Rules of Order for Dummies" before Mayor Mary Burress ruled her out of order.

"We are kicking this can down the road way too long. We need to get a city manager that can start hiring department heads," said Hohimer. "We can't get that done until we have someone that's sitting in that seat permanently."

But Cloyd said making last-minute changes to the contract isn't a good practice.

"It's not kicking down the road. It's making sure that we're following policy," she said.

Burress disagreed, saying the change was "very, very minute."

The final vote was 4-2, with Cloyd and Lloyd Orrick voting no. Hilst abstained.

Dossey will make $170,000 a year as city manager.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.