Georgantas leaving Will County Merit Commission
BY BRIAN STANLEY firstname.lastname@example.org August 27, 2012 9:04PM
Will County Sheriff's Merit Commission Chairman Robert Georgantas (left) receives congratulations from Sheriff Paul Kaupas after his final meeting Monday. Georgantas, 89, is retiring after 25 years of serving on the board responsible for hiring and promot
Updated: September 29, 2012 6:11AM
JOLIET — For the first time in a quarter-century, sheriff’s deputies are about to have someone else authorize their hiring, firing and promotions.
Monday marked what will likely be the final time Robert Georgantas chairs a meeting of the Will County Merit Commission.
Georgantas joined the state police in 1949 and rose to the rank of major before retiring in 1978. Sheriff John Johnsen “pestered” Georgantas for six months until he joined the merit board in January 1987, he said.
“He wanted to upgrade the commission with new members, which is why we’ve put in the education requirements (for promotions) and fair policy instead of favoritism in testing,” Georgantas said.
Current Sheriff Paul Kaupas was an applicant for a lieutenant’s position at Georgantas’ first meeting when the old system was still in place.
“I want to thank him for all his service into making the sheriff’s department deputies and correctional officers more professional,” Kaupas said.
Don LaPaglia, a retired deputy with 26 years experience, is expected to join the five-member committee, but his appointment must be approved by the Will County Board. If that doesn’t happen at the county board’s next meeting, Georgantas might have to serve on the commission another month, administrative assistant Pam Populorum said.
Georgantas credited Populorum as “the manager” who has organized everything so well that he could regularly complete a monthly meeting that didn’t have new business in less than three minutes. A reporter once timed a particularly light agenda at 1 minute 15 seconds from gavel to gavel.
“If you don’t have anything to talk about, get it over with. That’s the way to run a meeting,” Georgantas said. Populorum said Georgantas can keep the gavel he’s “banged up pretty good.”
Georgantas will turn 90 in three weeks and said a recent look at himself prompted the decision to leave the commission.
“I know I’ve still got my mind,” he said with a brief laugh. “But to make a decision about young people should be done by someone who can relate to their (concerns) more.
“It’s time. I’ll miss it, but I want to be fair,” he said.