A permanent replacement to the Palos Heights building commissioner fired in August was approved this week.
William Hayes has filled in as acting head of the building department since James Dougherty was removed after allegations of pocketing money paid for fees and fines surfaced. The City of Palos Heights council made him the official commissioner during Tuesday's meeting.
Hayes' permanent placement still leaves the department with fewer people in the department had under Dougherty, said Mayor Bob Straz. An assistant in the building department also was let go along with Dougherty. Straz said that, because new construction is slow right now, they will hold off on hiring a new assistant for the department.
Shortly after he was let go, Dougherty was charged with misdemeanor theft. Authorities allege he took accused of collecting $600 in payment for fines and permit fees on July 25 but not turning the money in or issuing a receipt to the business owner, police said.
Dougherty is due in court on Feb. 22
Hayes was praised by the council for his work in the department.
"He's done a great job as interim and I look forward to working with him for the next many, many years," Straz said after the unanimous council approval on Tuesday.
Alderman Michael McGrogan said he believe Hayes would do a "fine job" for the City of Palos Heights.
"I think he's very cooperative with, not only all of the aldermen, but any resident questions," McGrogan said.
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