YORKVILLE – After nearly three decades, Yorkville’s police chief is beginning the process of his retirement.
The Yorkville City Council voted, 6-0, to approve a transition and mutual release agreement between Yorkville Police Chief Rich Hart and the city during their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 28, at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road. Ward 1 Alderman Ken Koch and Ward 4 Alderman Seaver Tarulis were absent.
Yorkville Mayor John Purcell said he has appreciated Hart’s service to the city over the years. He said he has known Hart since grade school.
“He was a life-long Yorkville area person, which, to me, is important,” Purcell said.
Hart said it’s been a great 27 years with Yorkville’s police department. He said he had been chief since 2010 and moved up the ranks from patrol officer before then.
“I couldn’t have had a more honorable job than to serve my hometown,” Hart said.
According to city documents, Hart will retire once the city finds his replacement.
The transition agreement is capped through Nov. 30 but the city expects to find his successor sooner, the documents said.
Purcell said he didn’t feel it would be appropriate to go without a police chief during the search for Hart’s replacement. He said he’s already been contacted by people who are interested in the job when it wasn’t posted yet.
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem, to find somebody in ... the next two or three months at the max,” Purcell said. “That would be my hope.”
Hart said he had been talking about possible retirement for the last year or so and he wanted to wait until the mayor’s election so that the next mayor could pick Hart’s replacement. Pending the city approving the agreement, he said, the police chief job would be posted inside and outside of the police department.
“There’s nobody under direct consideration at this point,” Hart said.
Purcell said he is looking to post the police chief job by the end of the week and would like to see it stay open until mid-June.
Along with the city paying out remaining sick and vacation time – which is required by state law, Purcell said – the contract also includes the issuance of a retirement ID card and badge and an agreement for Hart to keep confidential any police-related confidential information post-employment, city documents said.
Hart said he started his law enforcement career in 1990 as a deputy with the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to that, Hart said, he served in the U.S. Army as airborne military police and served three years in active duty immediately after high school.
He said he was in the reserves still when he was working at the sheriff’s office and the city’s police department.
“It’s truly been an honor and just a great priviledge,” Hart said.