Eisenhauer's Rantoul interview adds new wrinkle to Danville mayor race

Eisenhauer's Rantoul interview adds new wrinkle to Danville mayor race

DANVILLE — As Danville's vice mayor, Brenda Brown has been asked one question a lot since news broke last week that Mayor Scott Eisenhauer is a finalist for Rantoul's city administrator job.

Who becomes mayor if Eisenhauer gets the gig and resigns?

The answer: an alderman.

One of the current 14 would be chosen — by the aldermen themselves — to play mayor until the end of Eisenhauer's current term next spring, according to Danville Corporate Counsel Dave Wesner.

And according to Brown, there are several aldermen already interested in running for mayor in April, which could make nominations for acting mayor very lively.

Brown has presided over the last two city council meetings in absence of Eisenhauer, who was in Rantoul interviewing.

Eisenhauer, who as full-time mayor makes $73,000 a year, said in the spring that he would be looking for a new job. His announcement came after a grass-roots group of Danville citizens, called Moving Danville Forward, got the signatures necessary to trigger a Nov. 6 referendum in which voters will decide whether they want to change the city's government to a city manager-alderman format.

If the referendum passes, the mayor's position would become a part-time job.

Brown said she'd be interested in being appointed acting mayor to fill out the remainder of Eisenhauer's term. But she said she would also support another alderman being appointed.

And there are others interested, she added.

"There are several who want to serve to fill his position until the election and also run for the position," she said, listing aldermen Lloyd Randle (Ward 7), Rickey Williams Jr. (Ward 1) and Steve Nichols (Ward 6) as those who have said they are interested in running for the non-partisan position of mayor.

Wesner said the law is clear that Eisenhauer's shoes would be filled by an alderman chosen by the others on the city council. But exactly how they choose — including how they nominate and vote — is not specified.

He said at least one alderman has already suggested that in the event Eisenhauer resigns, anyone interested in running for the office in April should not be allowed to fill the remainder of his term, and that aldermen should choose an acting mayor by secret ballot.

"Generally in any appointment, it's a voice vote, but for something like this you would want a roll call vote," Wesner said. "It's an interesting dynamic."

Randle has publicly stated his interest in running for mayor next spring. Williams has run for mayor in the past. And Brown, Randle and Williams have all come out against the proposed change of government to city manager format.

They, along with other aldermen, have organized two meetings and are inviting residents of their wards to come hear why they're against the proposed change.

Residents of Wards 1, 2, 3 and 4 will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Community Church of God (535 S. Bowman Ave.). Residents of Wards 5, 6 and 7 will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the American Legion Post 210 (201 Prospect Place).

"I do not want to see this form of government change in Danville, and that's my interest right now. Because of the fact that Danville, where we are at financially, is not prepared to take care of a city manager," Brown said. "We don't have the income to take care of these types of jobs in Danville."

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