Country Club Hills cuts inspector general post
BY MATTHEW BRUCE Correspondent August 2, 2011 5:08PM
Updated: January 23, 2012 3:18AM
A year after Country Club Hills officials created the position of inspector general — and hired the police chief’s husband to fill it — the position was eliminated Monday night during a brief special meeting of the city council.
Aldermen voted 8 to 1 to eliminate the job held by former Chicago police officer Ronald Evans, hired a year ago at an annual salary of $109,281.
As inspector general, his tasks included investigating any alleged wrongdoing by city employees or officials. His wife, Police Chief Regina Evans, and a brother-in-law both are city employees.
The move apparently is effective immediately. A woman working in Mayor Dwight Welch’s office said Monday that the city doesn’t have an inspector general.
Aldermen previously said the move is part of an effort to shave the city’s budget deficit and that the position is unnecessary.
After the vote Monday, Welch stuck by his stance that the move is “political retaliation.”
The city has been divided by a power struggle between Welch and the new board put in place after the April 5 election. Last month, the city council overrode a Welch veto and laid off 13 city employees, including Welch’s girlfriend and four police commanders.
In the vote to eliminate the inspector general position, only Ald. Cynthia Singleton (1st) voted against it. Ald. Steven Burris (4th) abstained.
“I wanted all my people back,” Welch said. “This is just another vote taking one of them away. I’m very concerned. It’s just going to be really tough.”
Several aldermen declined to comment after Monday’s vote.
The SouthtownStar reported last month that the Evanses filed for bankruptcy in March, and were $4.5 million in debt because of failed business ventures. The couple face lawsuits and several foreclosures on properties, records show.
Neither of the Evanses immediately returned phone calls for comment.
As inspector general, Ronald Evans also headed up a gang prevention task force in the city. With him and four police commanders ousted in the last two weeks, some residents expressed concern that the city may be cutting too deep.
“We’ve done a good job with narrowing in on these gangs and drugs. Who takes up that responsibility?” said Earnest Sutton, a dean of students and also the head football coach at Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills. “You cannot start eliminating police officers and not make it a cesspool for crime. It’s just offensive that no research was done here.”
Bremen Township Clerk Leonard Hines, a former Country Club Hills alderman, saw the elimination of the inspector general position as a seniority issue and said the post was not necessary, but he is distressed by the political infighting in the city.
“You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” he said. “We need to stop the crap that’s going on. Saner men and women need to step forward. Vendettas on either side is wrong.”