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Surrounded by family photos in his office, Bloomington Assistant Police Chief Clay Wheeler is expected to become the city's next police chief. He would replace Chief Brendan Heffner, who was appointed U.S. marshal. Wheeler will be faced with a community looking for more transparency and greater involvement in the police department.


BLOOMINGTON — City officials are anticipating a large crowd at Monday's City Council meeting, where the city will welcome a new police chief. A potential rally about a welcoming-city ordinance could be outside City Hall.

The regular voting session begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall. A closed session at 5 p.m., related to personnel and a claims settlement, will be at the Osborn Room at the Bloomington Police Department.

"The reason for that is we would anticipate there being a huge crowd here because we're going to swear in a new police chief and then we're going to have recognition of (National Emergency Medical Services Week), so our firefighters will all come here for that," said interim City Manager Steve Rasmussen. "We'll just move some of the tables at the back of the (council chambers), as we have done before, to provide plenty of room for people," he said.

New Police Chief Clay Wheeler will be sworn in after Rasmussen makes the appointment with the advice and consent of the City Council. 

Separately, Regina Noland is organizing a rally from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. outside City Hall to urge the city against adopting a welcoming-city ordinance after Normal's passage of one on May 7. That matter is not on the council's agenda.

"I suspect people will want to come in and talk at (the meeting's) public comment," said Rasmussen. "If that happens you might get the other group come in and want to promote a welcoming-city ordinance, but that's unconfirmed."

Rasmussen said others may speak about Wheeler or a proposal about Sunnyside Park on the city's west side.

Parks Director Jay Tetzloff and club CEO Tony Morstatter will present the proposal, but no vote is expected Monday.

"We will get guidance from the council as to how they want to do that, because it will be somewhat of a complicated legal document," said Rasmussen. "The discussion the council will have to have is: Do they want to lease or sell the land to them? We haven't done this before so it's setting a new precedent."

The parks master plan calls for more parkland on the west side, so the city would have to consider how to replace the 3.27 acres of green space, said Rasmussen.

Council action could come May 29, a rescheduled meeting because of Memorial Day.

In other action Monday, the council:

In December 2016, Pepsi and VenuWorks, on behalf of the city, negotiated a new beverage supplier agreement for the arena, but it did not include the ice rink. That agreement made the the old ice rink naming rights agreement moot.

If approved, the city would award VenuWorks a 5 percent commission if it finds someone to buy the naming rights for the public ice rink.

Proceeds from the $11.5 million health trust established by the late Judge John M. Scott is overseen by the City Council.

An independent auditor last year recommended shifting from providing direct assistance to individuals to funding grants for programs that prevent illness and promote the health and well-being of McLean County residents.

The change was prompted, in part, by a decrease in the number of clients needing direct aid for health care, especially under the Affordable Care Act.

Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle


Bloomington Reporter

Bloomington reporter for The Pantagraph.

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