City Manager: Police Chief will keep his job

By Audrey Wise

City Manager: Police Chief will keep his job

August 14, 2013 Updated Aug 14, 2013 at 10:25 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- After a heated council meeting and a nearly four hour executive session, the Peoria City Manager said Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard will remain in his position.

In recent days, several council members have voiced concerns about the chief, mainly surrounding two controversial incidents.

One involves a prostitution investigation into a former city councilman.

The other involves the chief's investigation of one of his police officers.

City Manager Patrick Urich said council members had a lot of questions behind closed doors, but he is confident the chief will remain when this is all said and done.

"I think a strong majority of the council still has strong support for the Police Chief, as do I," said Urich. "They have some other operational issues that they want us to report back on and to verify and to close the loop on, and we'll do that over the next couple of weeks."

Meanwhile, dozens of supporters came out to support the chief. When the chief walked into a packed council chamber, he was met with a standing ovation.

"There are a lot of really good people in Peoria and 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," said Chief Settingsgaard.

"It's been obvious to me that Steve Settingsgaard's goal is to grow our youth, not arrest our youth because he cares for our youth," said ELITE Coordinator Carl Cannon.

"We've been activated by the attacks on Chief Settingsgaard and I think there are a lot of people here and out in the hallway that you should just be aware that we're listening and we want leadership and we believe this is a good man and so we're going to be paying attention to what happens," said Peoria Citizen Ed Bond.

During the council meeting, Mayor Ardis called out several council members, namely newly elected councilman Chuck Grayeb, for going around the City Manager on this issue.

The city manager has final say on the matter.

Also in executive session, council members discussed the future of the seat left vacant by deceased at-large councilman Gary Sandberg.

Sandberg was found dead in his apartment on July 19 from apparent heart problems.

Mayor Ardis said they have 31 applicants.

During executive session, Mayor Ardis said they decided to give council members two weeks to talk with any of the candidates they wish to.

The mayor said he will try to talk to all of them in that time as well.

"We'll come back in executive session in two weeks based on the due diligence that everyone has done and narrow that down, we expect that to happen pretty quickly," said Mayor Ardis.

The mayor has 60 days from the vacancy to fill the position for the remainder of the term.

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