LINCOLN — City officials welcomed two new faces to Lincoln City Hall this week.
Mayor Seth Goodman on Monday appointed former Mayor Elizabeth Davis-Kavelman to the full-time position of City Administrator at a salary of $50,000. Lincoln resident Dayne Dalpoas also was appointed that night to the vacant Ward Four aldermanic seat previous held by Rick Hoefle.
Davis-Kavelman served as Mayor of Lincoln from 2001-2009, preceding former Mayor Keith Snyder. Her portrait hangs in City Council Chambers among those of all former mayors and her family's connections to local government are many.
Tuesday was Davis-Kavelman's first day back on the clock at City Hall. "I was very excited about this," she said from her new office on the ground floor. "I just wanted to get back into helping the city and the citizens."
During her time as mayor, the position she now holds did not exist; city council had a committee structure and the alderman were responsible for many of the tasks now assigned to the City Administrator. That structure also meant that, as mayor, she was essentially on-call for city business 24 hours a day.
At the time, city council consisted of 10 alderman and that was four fewer than when she began working for the city as the council recorder- a position she held for 16 years before becoming mayor and one that is now occupied by her daughter, Alexandria Williams.
She said this week that her favorite aspect of working as Mayor was having the opportunity to work with citizens, county and state officials to help resolve issues in the community and to promote economic development. "It takes a lot of people doing stuff together to get things done," she said.
Davis-Kavelman hopes to use her new position to better the city through similar means. "I just think we need to be more in touch with our citizens," she said. "[We] need to be out among the citizens, so they feel in touch with what's going on and don't feel so neglected."
She acknowledged that many residents feel the previous full-time administrator held too much power at city hall and said she would help the council explore a hybrid between the current and former structures of city government. "I think you lose some of the checks and balances when you take away the committee structure," she said.
"He had unlimited power with the council and the mayor, and I'm not going to do that," she said of her predecessor, who was also paid a salary of over $20,000 more than what she will earn in the same position.
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"I don't believe that one person ever needs to control city coffers," she said, adding that different levels of approval are typically put in place to help prevent corruption.
For the last nine years, Davis-Kavelman and her husband, Tom, a Hartsburg native and retired teacher, have lived on a family farm in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. Together, they raised cattle, cats, ducks, dogs, guinea fowl and more on the farm. "I miss people," she said with a laugh.
In her free time, she enjoys line dancing and also serves as the president of the Illinois Verbatim Reporters Association, an association of voice writers who do similar work to that of court reporters, but without the use of a stenograph. The group is pushing to have Illinois become the 38th state in the U.S. to allow verbatim reporters in official settings.
Kavelman is an alumni of Lincoln College and of the University of Illinois-Springfield. Her daughter Emily Davenport serves on the Logan County Board. Her sons, Chris and Joe, work for the city, in the Fire and Streets & Alleys Departments. Her third son, John, is serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Their father, Jim Davis, is a retired Lincoln Fire Chief and their grandfather, the senior Jim Davis, previously served as Chief of Police. Davis-Kavelman's daughter-in-law, Ashley Davis, was recently promoted to a full-time position in the City Clerk's Office.
Aside from reconnecting with the community, the new administrator plans to focus on obtaining state and federal grants that will help improve the city's bottom line. "I'd like to help get us out of debt," she said of the city's finances. "We've got to do whatever we can."
The city council also approved on Monday the mayoral appointment of Dayne Dalpoas as an alderman in Ward Four. Dalpoas was sworn into the position previously held by Rick Hoefle, who resigned July 3, citing personal and health reasons as his motivation for departure.
Dalpoas returned to Lincooln three years ago after living in several cities across the country as part of his job with State Farm.
He is the son of Dominic and Helen Dalpoas. The family is well known in Lincoln and Logan County for their community involvement. His father retired in December from a 17-year stint as the Director of the Oasis Senior Center. His brother, Dolan, is the President and CEO of Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. Dalpoas' wife, Katie, works as the Director of Agency Development at the Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois.
The alderman is a graduate of Lincoln Community High School, Lincoln College and Illinois State University. He told the council last week that he plans to have three specific areas of focus in his role with the city- economic development, beautification and civic engagement. He said his professional skills in problem analysis would also benefit him while weighing matters before the council.