Several Springfield Aldermen are suggesting that the city release executive session recordings where the council talked about an incident that led to the firing and rehiring of a City Water Light and Power employee. Current CWLP employee Matt Winters was fired and later rehired from cutting down part of a tree on his brother's property last March. Some aldermen say that releasing the recordings of the session will clear the credibility of the witness, Eric Riess, who claims he was not allowed to testify during an arbitration hearing that led to Winters getting back his job. Riess contends that criminal charges should be pressed against Winters. Mayor Mike Houston says there was enough evidence to fire Winters but not to press criminal charges.
In other city business, another hospital skywalk could soon start construction if the city council approves an agreement for Memorial Health System to lease some airspace over Miller Street. The ordinance granting the request for a lease was placed on the consent agenda. Plans provided to the city shows a second floor skywalk that attaches a parking garage with the hospital's Center for Learning and Innovation.
Meanwhile, a sports complex that will have baseball, softball and soccer fields is now closer to becoming reality. The area just northwest of the I-72, I-55 interchange could soon be the place for the Legacy Sports complex, a field that developers hope will host area and national little-league tournaments Aldermen Cory Jobe initially held up the ordinance granting a zoning variance because of concerns raised about traffic and drainage. Jobe says those issues have been addressed and the project is ready to move forward.
Aldermen will continue to debate an ordinance that would give nearly $1 million to a company to dispose of yard waste. The three year contract with Evans Cartage would have the company taking all yard waste from the city to process it into compost and other organic material. The agreement will also declare a tub grinder surplus and provide for the sale of the machine to Evans. Public Works Director Mark Mahoney says this deal could mean some savings in the long run because of gas and wear and tear upkeep for the grinder and space rental for the yard waste plus other factors. Alderman placed that ordinance on the debate agenda.
An ordinance that would cap the number of non-seasonal employees at city hall will have to wait another day for Aldermen to pass. The measure failed to get enough votes to get out of committee. Aldermen Stave Dove, one of the sponsors of the measure, was absent from Tuesday's committee meeting. Several members of the public spoke to aldermen, commending the mayor and the city for cutting back but also pushing the importance of holding the city accountable when it comes to headcount.