Wauconda board could name Yost police chief, losing interim tag
Wauconda's interim police chief, Patrick Yost, could soon lose the "interim" from his title.
The village board on Tuesday will consider formally hiring him as the town's chief, seven months after Mayor Frank Bart unilaterally named him to the interim post in a controversial move.
"We've come to an agreement on the right way forward," Bart told the Daily Herald on Monday. "It's the right time."
Yost replaced Douglas Larsson as chief in September 2013. Bart forced Larsson out of the job shortly after he was elected mayor, and the maneuver led to an ugly public battle.
Residents and local merchants overwhelmingly backed the popular Larsson, who since has been hired as a deputy chief in the Lake County sheriff's office.
Bart never asked trustees to formally promote Yost to chief, a requirement for the job. He was a sergeant at the time.
Instead, Bart gave him the job on an interim basis, which he was legally allowed to do.
On Monday, Bart said he waited to ask the board to approve Yost's promotion because officials had a lot of other important issues to handle first.
"We only have so much time," he said.
Trustee Ken Arnswald said officials have had "a lot of discussion" about the chief's job in closed-session meetings. Arnswald said he's supporting Yost because the veteran officer "has shown signs of improvement."
"As long as he continues showing improvement, we're good with it," Arnswald said. "There's always room for more improvement."
Yost is glad the board finally is voting on the appointment.
"It's nice to have that formal recognition," he said.
Yost's proposed contract includes a $116,050 annual salary. If the contract is approved, Yost will receive back pay for the time he served as interim chief.
The contract would be effective immediately and would expire July 9, 2015. If the board opts not to extend Yost's contract at that time, he will retire, according to village documents.
But Yost said he'd like to serve into 2015 and beyond.
"If they're willing to have me, then I'm here," he said.
The soft-spoken Yost has overseen a pair of high-profile cases since taking over as interim chief.
In April, officers investigating a report of a stolen truck shot and killed a man who refused to drop a handgun at a house in the village.
Last month, three gang members were charged with shooting a Chicago man in his girlfriend's Wauconda apartment. The victim survived.
The arrests followed a three-and-a-half-day manhunt for the suspects.
Bart praised the work Yost and his officers did on those cases. But he admitted the department still has some work to do when it comes to public relations.
Tuesday's meeting is set for 7 p.m. at village hall, 101 N. Main St.
Trustees will vote on a variety of other staff and volunteer appointments Tuesday, too.