Now it's Marlin's turn

Now it's Marlin's turn

URBANA — The city has a new mayor for the first time in 12 years, and residents can expect to see some changes, starting with the hiring of a city administrator.

Diane Marlin, the Democratic candidate and longtime alderwoman, won Urbana's mayoral election Tuesday with 4,266 votes, beating Republican Rex Bradfield, who got 680 votes.

After she is sworn in May 1, Marlin said her first priorities will be getting searches underway for a city administrator and new police chief. The administrator role, which coordinates work among city departments, was eliminated by current Mayor Laurel Prussing about 10 years ago. Police Chief Patrick Connolly resigned March 20, citing a family medical situation and a need to be closer to long-distance relatives.

Marlin said her next tasks will be required things such as preparing the city budget to be passed June 30 and negotiating contracts.

After that, Marlin said, she'll be focused on listening to businesses.

"I want to initiate conversations with our representatives from various components of the business community, see where challenges are for doing business in Urbana and thinking about what we'll do to address that," she said.

Marlin said that will be the beginning of her work to foster economic growth in the city, or "change the narrative" of Urbana being second-best to Champaign.

Another issue Marlin will face is the Illinois Supreme Court's decision to send the Carle tax case back down to a lower court.

"The decision was a disappointment for sure," Marlin said. "We're going to have to sit down and look at the financial options. That's all I'm going to say about that at this point."

Residents can also expect to see a push for community building among different neighborhoods. Marlin said she was inspired by the Neighborhood Leadership Initiative in Dayton, Ohio, a 12-week course that teaches understanding about problems throughout a city and encourages civic engagement.

"I would like something like that," Marlin said. "There's no funding for it — it would probably be a volunteer effort."

Marlin said she's also open to hiring more police officers in a few months. Prussing led a push to hire two new officers this winter and wanted to add three more around summer.

Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten said turnout for this county consolidated election was higher than expected. He said this election usually receives 20,000 to 25,000 votes, but 26,547 votes were cast by the end of Tuesday.

This is Bradfield's third consecutive loss in an Urbana mayoral race, and he said it will be his last foray into politics.

"I thought I'd have more turnout than I did," he said. "I'm sad, but I'm not sorry I ran for this three times."

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CallSaul wrote on April 05, 2017 at 6:04 pm


Turns out trying to sneak vote in the other party's primary and then insulting voters' intelligence by making up ridiculous lies to try to weasel out of it doesn't translate into a huge tidal wave of support.

Who knew...?

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on April 05, 2017 at 9:04 pm

We all knew she was and is a clone of her predecessor; lookout for a new jumer's to be built just north of her office with pennies out of your pocket.