Nominee for Chief Was Too Political, Says Councilwoman

Article excerpt

Jennings City Council member Gail Iver, 2nd Ward, says she fought the appointment of former Police Chief Al Zlotopolski to the police personnel board because she wanted to stifle political problems.

"We have had a lot of political problems in the police department in the past," Iver said. "I'd hate to see it continue in any way, shape or form. I would feel much more comfortable with someone who didn't have so many ties."

Iver said that about one-fourth of Jennings' police officers had served under Zlotopolski and that she didn't want the new officers to feel there might be any special treatment to those who once worked with him. Mayor Benjamin Sutphin, who recommended Zlotopolski for the board, said he did not understand Iver's concern. Neither did Councilman Robert Baker, 4th Ward. Baker said of Zlotopolski, "I have great regard for this man. I think he can be very impartial. I have heard nothing but good things about this gentleman. I think he would be an asset." Apparently, Baker and Sutphin were alone. A motion to appoint Zlotopolski died for lack of a second. Zlotopolski retired in 1981 after 11 years as police chief and 25 years with the department. He declined comment when reached after the meeting. Iver also opposed the appointment of Kathy Steinlage to the police personnel board because Steinlage was a former council member. The council voted 4-4 for Steinlage's appointment. Sutphin broke the tie by voting in favor of the appointment. Steinlage will fill one of the two vacancies left by Virginia Brady and Leo Howe. Both moved to St. Charles. Sutphin will recommend another nominee for consideration by the council. In other business, Jennings' biggest employer will remain at its current location because of a tax incentive. …

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