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Mayor plans national search for chief

September 6, 2018

KANKAKEE — Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong has an idea on how to pay for a national search for Kankakee’s next police chief.

On her Facebook live town hall last week, Wells-Armstrong said she would recommend the city tap into its TIF district money, which she said would require a budget amendment.

These funds are meant to develop specific areas of town, but the city can recoup money it spent from its main account in past years to help the TIF districts. Such help includes accounting and legal services.

During the summer, the City Council eliminated a $400,000 hole in the budget after it identified a similar amount in TIF money that officials said was owed to the main account. This action followed speculation the city might have to lay off police officers and firefighters to make ends meet, which Wells-Armstrong later denied was a possibility.

In last week’s town hall, the mayor thanked the city’s “wonderful” legal team and comptroller for analyzing the TIF accounts and finding money it could recoup. A second phase of that analysis, she said, identified “significant” funds that can pay for the national search.

Since Wells-Armstrong took the helm in May 2017, the police chief’s post has become a revolving door. Interim Chief Price Dumas resigned suddenly last month after the state police, prompted by a Daily Journal story, launched an investigation into Dumas’ use of a state criminal database.

Deputy Chief Willie Hunt is serving as the interim chief.

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