MORRISON – Jim Wise, Morrison’s former administrator, was hired last week for the same position in Cherry Valley, a Rockford suburb.
It is familiar terrain for Wise, a former alderman in nearby Belvidere.
In May, newly seated Morrison Mayor Everett Pannier announced he would not keep Wise, who served for 2 years.
Last week, Cherry Valley’s village board voted unanimously to appoint Wise as its new administrator. He filled the position held by David Nord, who resigned in the spring after 25 years. Nord recently became Dixon’s first administrator.
More than 20 people applied for the Cherry Valley position – and Wise was among about eight to get interviewed, village Trustee Gary Maitland said. Morrison has a population of about 4,100 people, 1,000 more than Cherry Valley.
“We just liked what Jim had to say,” Maitland said. “He’s had good experience. He lived up in this area. He’ll present a fresh look at doing things in Cherry Valley.”
Cherry Valley assesses no property taxes, relying instead on sales taxes from extensive commercial development, including CherryVale Mall and waterpark Magic Waters.
“We are concerned about keeping the businesses in Cherry Valley and bringing in additional businesses,” Maitland said.
Wise, a 1978 Sterling High School graduate, made the Morrison downtown one of his priorities, helping get a state historical designation for that area. He also got credit for turning the city around financially.
At the same time, he often knocked heads with City Council members and citizens alike. The attorney general’s office found that Wise violated the state’s open meetings law when he ordered a police officer to escort a resident out of a public meeting, using the justification that the man had been rude to city employees earlier.
In another instance, Wise barred an alderwoman from taking notes while reviewing the city’s attorney bills. She had to read them in a basement meeting room at City Hall, with an employee watching over her.