By LEIGH M. CALDWELL
It was a busy night for public safety in West Frankfort on Tuesday, as Mayor Tom Jordan appointed both a police chief and an acting fire chief for the city.
Shawn Talluto, a 17-year veteran of the West Frankfort Police Department, was appointed chief of police at Tuesday’s city council meeting. Talluto had served in many positions in the department. He has been interim chief since late January, when Jeff Tharp resigned his position to go back into the ranks.
Jordan said Talluto was known throughout the city for his integrity, and he is confident that Talluto will lead the department well.
In addition to his work in the police department, Talluto serves on the West Frankfort School Board and heads up the city’s Shop with a Cop charity drive each Christmas season.
The mayor also thanked Talluto’s wife, Laura, who was in attendance. “We appreciate you signing on with him,” Jordan said.
City commissioners voted unanimously to endorse Talluto’s appointment.
Jordan also appointed Fire Captain Jody Allen as the city’s acting fire chief. The department has been led by its three fire captains since Fire Chief Wes Taylor stepped down in October 2012.
Jordan said that while that arrangement has worked well, there are certain documents and duties that require a fire chief, and Allen will fill that role, at least temporarily.
Allen has worked in the West Frankfort Fire Department since 1999. “He’s got the city’s best interest at heart,” Jordan, a former fire chief himself, said of the appointment.
City commissioners also voted to endorse Allen’s appointment, with Commissioner Tara Fasol-Chambers abstaining from the vote because her husband works for the fire department.
Jordan said the promotions from within ultimately reflect well on the city’s hiring and training.
“I think it really shows something about our hiring practices and the work of the merit board that we have people within our ranks to move up to these positions,” he said.