Wauconda mayor plans to stick with new police chief choice

Despite community outrage over Police Chief Douglas Larsson's pending ouster, Wauconda Mayor Frank Bart is moving forward with plans to name Sgt. Patrick Yost the town's next top cop.

Bart was criticized by a long line of residents during a village board meeting Tuesday night over the proposed leadership change.

Under the law, a mayor can dismiss a police chief without village board approval. Hiring a new chief, however, requires a board vote.

Bart had been set to nominate Yost for the post Tuesday night, but he delayed the vote as the evening's meeting dragged on. The board and the mayor eventually went into a private, executive-session meeting to discuss the chief's job and other personnel issues.

On Wednesday, Bart confirmed Yost remains his choice for chief. Contract details haven't been worked out, however.

“We're still going to have to finalize that agreement,” Bart said.

He will ask the board to vote when it next meets June 18.

Bart described the previous night's closed-door discussion as “productive.”

“I believe we resolved most of our issues,” he told the Daily Herald.

Tuesday's meeting was moved from village hall to a cafeteria at Wauconda High School to accommodate a larger-than-usual crowd. More than 200 people showed up, and most were there to support Larsson.

During the meeting, Bart insisted Larsson isn't being fired. But later in the meeting, Bart said Larsson staying on as chief wasn't an option he considered after being elected mayor.

He said he wanted Larsson out as chief to save the village money.

Legally, Larsson agreed to vacate the post after meeting with Bart about three weeks ago regarding the future of the department. He'll step down Aug. 31, under the terms of the deal he reached with Bart.

In brief remarks to the crowd Tuesday, Larsson insisted he hadn't resigned.

Before coming to Wauconda, Larsson served as chief in Round Lake Beach and in various positions with the Rolling Meadows Police Department.

Yost has worked for the Wauconda Police Department since 1989. He's served in several posts, from patrol officer to deputy chief.

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