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MATTOON — The City Council heard Tuesday night that efforts are underway to fill the vacant chief post at the Mattoon Fire Department.

Council member Rick Hall, commissioner for public health and safety, said officials are working on getting an interim fire chief and plan to ultimately find a permanent one.

The previous interim chief, Kris Phipps, resigned on Oct. 24, citing disagreements with city officials on how to best operate the fire department as his reason. The department's shift captains have been overseeing operations since then.

In other matters, the council approved a participation agreement with Health Care Service Corp. for a $480,000 state grant that will help fund construction of a new road in the Coles Centre subdivision.

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The road will serve a new Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois service center and other planned developments. City Administrator Kyle Gill said this will hopefully be the last council vote needed before construction work starts on the service center.

In addition, the council approved a $30,513 change order for replacing water lines as part of the replacement of sidewalks along Broadway Avenue from North 19th Street east to Veterans Memorial Bridge downtown.

Public Works Director Dean Barber said city is replacing old lines during the project to hopefully prevent any leaks from occurring afterwards. He said work on the west half of the project area has been completed and work on the east half will start this week.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud

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Reporter

Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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