City to settle personal injury suit; board appointments OK’d

By Jim Hagerty

CITY HALL — The City of Rockford on Monday averted a civil trial by settling a lawsuit filed by an elderly woman after being injured by a city employee two years ago.

Elva Damon, 75, was walking across Rockton Avenue on June 23, 2005, when a city pickup truck backed into her. She suffered a broken elbow, an injury requiring surgical repair.

According to the suit, the driver did not use a horn to alert pedestrians that he was backing up or look where he was going.

The suit will be settled for $205,000. An October court hearing will be canceled. Damon is represented by Rockford attorney Tom Fabiano.

• In other City of Rockford business Monday, a proposal to change the way the city pays its vendors was laid over after it couldn’t garner enough votes. The proposal is aimed at improving cash-flow for the many small companies that provide services for Rockford. Passing the measure requires a city rule change and preceding super-majority on the city council. It needed a 10-vote majority, but Aldermen Tim Durkee, R-1; Chad Tuneberg, R-3; Kevin Forst, R-4; and Frank Beach, R-10, voted against it.

“I understand the there are some vendors that need quicker action,” Beach said. “But [they] are few in terms of the total. I wonder why we would change the whole thing to accommodate just a few, rather than come up with some other way to deal with the few.”

The mayor says the idea was hatched by a number of local vendors who took part in discussions about how to improve the city’s relationship with local companies.

“We, as a council, have wanted to move towards making Rockford as easy as possible to do business with,” McNamara said.

Currently, the takes about four to six weeks to pay its bills. Invoices are first reviewed by staff and approved by aldermen before being paid. The proposal aims to cut the process by two weeks.

Board appointments

Several board and commission seats were filled with new and returning members Monday night. Each appointment was made by McNamara and approved by aldermen.

Mustafa Abdall, Jennifer Smith, Tom Fabiano and Dan Roszkowski will serve five-year staggered terms on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Fabiano and Roszkowski are re-appointments.

On the Rockford Public Library Board, Cesar Sanchez and Henrietta Dotson-Williams are newcomers, while Paul Logli, Dawn Durkin, Jessica Koltz, Oliver Baer and Brad Long were re-appointed to new three-year terms.

Brian Blakemore, Kerry Harlacher, Joel Sjostrom and William Waldorf were re-appointed to the Building Board of Appeals. Each will serve another five-years. Jennifer Spencer and Mokhtar Mohammed were appointed for the first time.

Aldermen also approved re-appointments of developer Sunil Puri and Chicago Rockford International Airport Director Mike Dunn to the Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority (RAVE) Board of Directors. Officers of the RAVE Board are Craig Thomas, chairman; John Phelps, vice chairman; Jollene Haney, secretary; and Tim Rollins, authority counsel.

In addition to Dunn, and Puri, RAVE directors are Howie Heaton, Maurice West Sr., Rudy Valdez, Michael Schirger and Tom Walsh. Elected officials serving on the board are Alderman Frank Beach, R-10; Alderman Chad Tuneberg, R-3; and Republican Winnebago County board member Fred Wescott.

Other boards and commissions

Historic Preservation Commission: Val Olafson, Olga Kampmeier. Each will serve three-year terms.

Board of Fire and Police Commissioners: Jessica Jones, three-year term.

Rockford Mass Transit District: Herbert Johnson, David Sidney—four-year terms.

Traffic Commission: Don Bissell, Todd Fagen, Fred Lierman, Michael Smith, Dock Ward—five-year terms.

Rockford Housing Authority: Jeff Dibenedetto, Alice Jenkins, Ken Oliver. Each will serve five years.

Electrical Commission: Scott Baier, Andy Kwiatoski, Mark Primm—three-year terms.

Mechanical Board: Richard Beck, Tom Whitlock—five-years.

Police Pension Board: Scott Laue—three-year term.

The full City Council meets on the first and third Monday of every month. Committee meetings are the second and fourth Monday. R.

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