3 new Springfield commissioners, fire chief sworn into office


Three Springfield city commissioners, including two first-time politicians, were sworn into office Tuesday evening, the first change to the city’s governing body in eight years.

The city of Springfield held a swearing-in ceremony at the City Hall Forum on Tuesday evening.

RELATED: Rue, Chilton, Estrop elected to Springfield city commission

Incumbent City Commissioner Joyce Chilton was sworn in for her third term and was also voted assistant mayor by the commissioners. Local funeral home co-owner Rob Rue and retired school superintendent David Estrop both were both sworn in for their first term.

Estrop and Rue replaced Dan Martin, who served five terms but lost his re-election bid in November, and Karen Duncan, who didn’t run again after 12 years on the commission.

Brian Miller also was sworn in as the city’s new fire chief, replacing Nick Heimlich, who served as chief since 2010 and retired. Miller has worked for the Springfield Fire/Rescue Division for 26 years and recently served assistant fire chief and fire marshal.

Chilton, Rue and Estrop will join Mayor Warren Copeland and longtime City Commissioner Kevin O’Neill on the five-member board.

MORE: Recently-elected Springfield commissioners to focus on jobs, roads

Chilton thanked the voters, her family and the people who worked on her campaign.

“I’m honored and humbled that you put your trust in me,” she said. “With your trust, I’ll continue to work tirelessly on your behalf to help address the challenges in our city.”

Rue, a lifelong Springfield resident, also thanked family and friends for working on his campaign.

“Springfield is a pearl to me,” Rue said. “With all of its difficulties, trials and setbacks, Springfield has a destiny to be a great city of prosperity. I’ve always said Springfielders have an internal fight within them to fight for something better than they are today. I plan to make decisions along with our mayor and fellow commissioners to see Springfield succeed.”

By working together, Springfield can prosper in the future, Estrop said. He also thanked the voters and his campaign staff.

MORE: Report: Springfield in fiscal stress, leaders say finances better now

“I know we have a lot of challenges as a city, but I also believe by working together we can convert those challenges into opportunities and move Springfield forward,” Estrop said.

Copeland thanked Chilton for her willingness to serve another term and welcomed the two new commissioners.

“Any time an organization gets new ideas and people, it’s usually good for that organization,” Copeland said. “Feel free to educate us and help us understand what we haven’t known well enough. Together, I look forward to the future.”

Commissioners earn an annual salary of $10,750. They oversee a government that serves about 59,000 people with a $43 million annual general fund budget and about 570 employees.

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