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HEADLINES
Baker Promoted To Vice President At Foster Financial Services Rep. Mitchell Attends Eagle Scout Award Ceremony Sometimes, Irritations Are Blessings In Disguise McDaniel Makes Official His Campaign For Mayor Williams Visits St. Teresa Kreps Joins UIC Staff City Council Approves Sewer Work  
ADM Announces Sale Of Global Chocolate Business
City Reminds Residents
Of Sign Regulations

Noise Ordinance Is More Than Fair - LETTERS
How We Got From Larry Lujack To The City's Noise Ordinance
Union Iron Announces Major Expansion Project In Decatur

Callis Remains Upbeat In Race Against Rodney Davis
Ron Ingram Is New MacArthur Boys Basketball Coach

Decatur Park Board Appoints Stacey Young To Fill Unexpired Park Commissioner Term

ADM Opens Global Headquarters And Customer Center In Chicago

Caterpillar Reaches Milestone Of 75,000 Wheel Tractor- Scrapers
 
 





Paul Osborne's
CITY BEAT
Impressed With Supt.
Lisa Taylor's Skills


I found my One-On-One interview with Decatur Superintendent of Schools Lisa Taylor, that is printed elsewhere on this website and in our print editioin “refreshing”.
Taylor brings a lot of openness to the position and is certainly creating an atmosphere where “communication” is a high priority.
Specific goals have been set for the district and a new environment to administrate, teach and learn has been created.
How do I know that anything is changing under the new superintendent?
Well, for the first time in many years, the superintendent’s office called to ask for an interview so Taylor could explain the changes and goals for the district.
A communication initative from the superintendent’s office for a one-on-one sitdown with no question restrictions was extremely positive.
I feel good about the direction Taylor, and the district, is heading.



Mayor McElroy Announces Campaign For Another Term

Tuesday morning (Sept. 9) Mayor Mike McElroy held a news conference at the civic center and made his run for re-election “official”.
A few weeks ago, in this column, I indicated that I had talked with McElroy and he was going to run again.
McElroy’s reasons for running, his accomplishments and how he feels about serving as mayor, are spelled out in the article elsewhere on this website.
McElroy and I were the two new members of the city council when we were elected in 2003.  McElroy was elected councilman and I was elected mayor.
  During the years I served as mayor, McElroy was my strongest supporter on council in working to move the community forward.
     Both of us were re-elected to the same positions four years later, and that relationship continued.
When my years in the mayor’s office were over, McElroy ran successfully for the mayor’s position and was elected to a two-year term.  
Four years later, he was elected to a four-year term, which he will complete next year.
McElroy, as mayor, continued to work on completing projects we had worked on together -- such as downtown redevelopment, a new police facility and expanding the city’s water supply.
Those three projects, and others, have been completed or are in the process of being completed.
There have also been other issues addressed along the way.
The mayor, city council and city manager have been an efficient combination during the last term.
Although two of those experienced councilmen, Larry Foster and Pat Laegeler are leaving the council next May, and a third councilman, Pat McDaniel is running against him, McElroy hopes to be re-elected and continue working with the next council in the same relationship he has with the present council.

Another Mayoral Challenger

Another  mayoral candidate has thrown his hat into the ring. Dustin C. Chapman, 23, told me that he will be seeking the office of mayor in the next election April 7.
Chapman informed me Saturday that he is already circulating petitions and will be making a formal announcement soon.
“I see a town that is seeking an avenue for growth and success, which holds a tremendous amount of passion, yet is being held back,” Chapman told me. 
Mayor McElroy will announces that he is running for re-election tomorrow (Tuesday).
With three candidates for mayor  (including the incumbent), there is also talk about two other possible candidates, which would be a sizeable number considering Mayor McElroy didn’t have an opponent in the last election when he was elected to the present four-year term.
I would think that since McElroy is being challenged, the more challengers the better for him, as long as it isn’t thrown into a primary election.
McElroy, as an incumbent will get a large amount of votes.  If three candidates run against him,  the vote pool will be spread out over multiple candidates which will make it difficult for any of the challengers to get a sizeable number of votes.
If five candidates declare for mayor, a primary election will be held to narrow the candidate field to two to advance to the April 7th election.


Chairing City Council Meetings: The Good, Bad And Unusual

The city council meetings over the past few years have been fairly tranquil.  The mayor, council members and the city manager seem to work together in an orderly fashion.
Although there have been some citizens in recent years who have appeared before council over something that had displeased them, overall, the council meetings have been conducted in an orderly fashion.
The mayor is the chairman of the meetings so he is the one who has the responsibility of keeping things under control, and, hopefully, the members of the council will respect the level of decorum he is trying achieve.  
I had covered city council meetings and several mayors over the years before I was elected mayor the first time in 2003.  
Besides myself, there are only two former mayors who were elected by the people who are still alive today --Terry Howley and Erik Brechnitz.    I’m sure they have their own “memories” of high and low moments while chairing the meetings.
Probably, one of the loudest outbursts of laughter that I ever heard at a council meeting happened when the chamber was packed with citizens who were there to express their views on the rights of gay people in the city.
My predecessor, Terry Howley, was chairing the meeting and, since so many people wanted to address the council on the issue, each speaker was limited to three minutes. 
One woman, who was addressing the council on why all people’s rights 
should be respected regardless of their sexual preferences was explaining why she felt that way.
As she hurried through her comments, she firmly told the council that she treated all people the same adding, “I will eat with anybody.  I will work with anybody. I will sleep with anybody.”
As soon as she finished the last sentence, the chamber audience burst into laughter and the woman was very embarrassed because what she said wasn’t exactly what she intended to say.
When everyone quieted down, Mayor Howley said he could give the woman an extra five minutes of speaking time because of her last statement.
I also remember that, once, during a meeting at the civic center, one man was so mad at Mayor Gary Anderson he punched him in the stomach and called him something I won’t repeat here.
In my conversation with Anderson a day later, it was obvious that the punch didn’t hurt him as much as what the man called him.
Gary was always trying to do his best for the community.  Getting punched and called a demeaning name would hurt anyone’s feelings. 

A Few Personal Experiences

Certainly, I was well-aware of many ugly and funny incidents previous mayors endured in chairing the meetings when the chairman’s gavel was handed to me to use during the years I served.
I always prepared myself for anything that might happen on those Monday nights.
Still, there were unexpected things that happened during some meetings. • One night David Daker was addressing us on drive-thru liquor sales and, suddenly, he flopped on the floor to demonstrated how drunk a person could be and still buy liquor from his car.  He called me later to ask how I liked his “performance”.  I assured him it would not be nominated for an Oscar.
• I wrote several months ago in this column about the man who had a restraining order against him to stay away from me because of his threats.    One night he came to the council meeting at the last minute, carrying a bag. I thought he might have had a gun in the bag. If he came to do me harm, he came at the wrong time.  The council meeting that night was three hours long and when it was over he was sound asleep in a front row chair and we all left without incident.  
• There is usually one security officer stationed at the back entrance to the council chamber, but I remember one issue we were dealing with that was so controversial it packed the council chamber with citizens. We had three police officers in the meeting in case a problem broke out.  One of the police officers was sitting a little distance behind the city manager looking at the audience. Plus, then-Police Chief James Anderson was in the city staff seating area, and, one of our councilmen was a state police officer who may have been packing heat. 
I felt like it was the Wild West and I was Judge Roy Bean!
Fortunately, everyone was on their best behavior.
• Another time, a community leader was standing at the podium addressing us and the pressure apparently made him  sick and he had to be helped to a front row seat while an ambulance was called.
Thankfully, he totally recovered.  I wondered if people outside of the civic center were trying to figure out what kind of a council meeting we were having when someone at the meeting was being placed in an ambulance. 
I’ve only mentioned a few of many “unusual experiences” over the years -- but we all survived and I have many fond memories of the years I served.
Obviously, there are a few memories that are not so fond -- but that is true in about everything we do in life.
As far as the gavel that was passed to me when I became mayor, I used it nearly 150 times -- but only to start the council meetings and never in anger. 

Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY.  



 
 
 
 










 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Paul Osborne
Editor & Publisher

Submit your news 
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