Council members remain quiet over Police Chief's job

By Audrey Wise

August 14, 2013 Updated Aug 14, 2013 at 8:05 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill --  Peoria City council members are remaining quiet after a heated meeting Tuesday night.

After much speculation, Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard's job was called into question at Tuesday night's city council meeting and into executive session.

The issues largely stem from two incidents.  One involves a prostitution investigation of a former city councilman.  The other involves the Chief's investigation of one of his police officers.

Chief Settingsgaard was met with a standing room only crowd of many strong supporters at the meeting.

Some of those supporters said, "We support him because we know him to be a man of principle and integrity."
"He loves this city and wants the prosperity and the peace of this city."
"I'm here tonight with my fellow officers to show support for Chief Settingsgaard."

After regular business was intended to, the council adjourned to executive session, but not before a heated exchange between Mayor Ardis and Councilman Grayeb.

Mayor Ardis said, "The direction that the council would typically take towards any type of action from or about to an employee is done through the city manager, which you and others have decided to go around."

Councilman Grayeb asked the Mayor, "Would you tell me how I have gone around the city manager?"

To which the Mayor responded, "The way that this discussion has developed, I've never seen in city government before (I haven't either sir) and it's been very inappropriate."

After nearly four hours in executive session the Chief's direct boss, City manager Patrick Urich, emerged to say the Chief's job was safe, but all the questions haven't been answered.

"I think we still have a few issues that we have to continue to work through and try and report back to the council, had some questions that came up that we need to look at," said Urich.

Chief Settingsgaard would not comment on what was asked of him behind closed doors, but said he was pleased with the showing of support.

He said, "I think the people that know me best know who I am and know what I'm about, and they were here to say they support me."

All of this does not necessarily end the tension between certain council members and the police Chief, only coming council meetings will tell.

For a fuller video version of the heated exchange between Mayor Ardis and Councilman Grayeb click on the story link above.

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