Wauconda trustees say they’ll support new police chief

Wauconda village board members on Wednesday said they’ll back Patrick Yost as the town’s interim police chief, even though they weren’t asked to vote on his appointment.

“Pat Yost is our chief and I will support him and do whatever I can to make him the best chief that the village of Wauconda can have,” Trustee Chuck Black told the Daily Herald.

Trustee Linda Starkey took a similar stance.

“He wasn’t my choice for police chief, but I respect the fact that he is the chief now, and I wish him all the best moving forward,” she said.

Yost was sworn in during a relatively private ceremony Saturday. It was the same day his predecessor, Douglas Larsson, officially left the post.

Larsson was forced out of the chief’s chair by Mayor Frank Bart.

Yost repeated his oath during Tuesday night’s village board meeting.

Under Illinois law, village boards vote on mayoral nominations for police chief. Bart planned to make the nomination in June, but he pulled back after a large public outcry over Larsson’s ouster.

Bart has acknowledged he didn’t have the unanimous support of the village board, which spent hours debating the issue in closed session this summer.

Starkey called those discussions “very heated” but didn’t elaborate, citing the confidentiality of executive-session meetings.

As the weeks passed, Bart never formally nominated Yost for the position, so the issue never came to the dais for a vote.

Bart was legally able to install Yost as interim chief without board approval.

For trustee John Barbini, that “interim” tag is an important distinction.

“Now that that’s happened, we have to give Interim Chief Yost the benefit of the doubt that he’s going to fulfill his duties in an appropriate manner,” Barbini said. “I think the proof will be in the pudding in terms of moving forward.”

Trustee Teri Burke, who ran on Bart’s slate this spring, called the appointment process “less than ideal.”

“But now that he’s taken office and (has) the support he needs, I think he’ll do a fine job,” Burke added.

The trustees acknowledged Bart’s legal right to name an interim chief without a board vote. None said they felt the board was cut out of the process.

“We had the opportunity to express our opinions in executive session,” Barbini said.

Bart’s goal was to name Yost chief, Starkey said, and going the interim route was the only way to make that happen.

“It is what it is,” Starkey said of the process. “Am I happy about it? I feel like I am ready to put it behind us.”

During Tuesday’s village board meeting, Bart called Yost “a top-notch guy” and said he has faith in the new chief’s abilities.

“He’ll do a good job for the community,” Bart said.

Yost, who most recently had been a sergeant in Wauconda, called the appointment to chief “the culmination of 24 years” with the department.

Yost said he and the officers under his command will work together “to continue to make a differences for the businesses, for the visitors and mostly for the residents of Wauconda.”

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