City's Fire And Police Commission Nominees Approved

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It took a week longer than anticipated, but on Monday night, aldermen give the go ahead for Jim Powers, Henrietta Dotson-Williams and Lorayne Logan to usher in the city's new public safety era.

"The pressure's where it should be: it's on my head to make sure we've got the right appointments in place, and I think we've done that. I'm looking forward to all the hard work done to make sure we've got an excellent police chief hired," Mayor Larry Morrissey said.

But the fire and police commission's approval didn't come without dissent. Some council members complained of possible conflicts of interest, with Powers' previous ties to the Rockford police department.

"This has nothing to do with him. He's a good guy, put him on any other commission I wouldn't care, but the police and fire commission only because he has worked with the police department," Alderman Pat Curran said.

"Tonight I stand by what I'm saying. I believe the fire and police commission should be an independent body, seperate from any other political individual or body," Alderman Linda McNeely said.

But other councilman previously opposed to the nominees - like aldermen Jeff Holt - now look to move on, and support the commission's search for Rockford's new top cop.

"I would hope that this commission would consult with the aldermen - not as to who the next chief will be, but what issues are important to the city and the residents we represent," Holt said.

The new commission is now in charge of representing both the city, and its public safety departments.