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Marseilles council to appoint new mayor next week

With the recent death of Marseilles Mayor Jim Trager, city attorney Richard Burton believes a successor will be named during the next council meeting Wednesday, Jan. 17.

And, according to a consensus of the council, the new mayor is expected to be Finance Commissioner Jim Hollenbeck, who has served as mayor pro tem recently.

"I am working on a resolution for the commissioners to properly select a new mayor next week," Burton said. "By a majority vote, they will appoint a person to fill the balance of Mayor Trager's term until spring of 2019 and so no special election will be required."

According to a state statute about vacancies within the commission form of government, "if a vacancy occurs, the remaining members of the council, within 30 days after the vacancy occurs, shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the balance of the unexpired term or until the vacancy is filled by interim election and until the successor is elected and has qualified."

Burton said if a commissioner is selected as the new mayor, a replacement for the council official might also be selected at the upcoming meeting. 

He confirmed the mayoral replacement doesn't have to be selected from current council members.

Commissioner Jim Buckingham said Wednesday he supports Hollenbeck for the mayor position.

"With his experience, I think he'll do a good job," Buckingham said. "I also know Jim will keep open the channels of communication within the council and the public. That is important to me."

Buckingham mentioned former Commissioner Bobby Kaminski may take an appointment to take Hollenbeck's seat on the council. Kaminski didn't confirm or deny his interest, saying he had no further comment when asked Wednesday about a possible appointment. Kaminski lost re-election by five votes in April 2015.

Commissioner Bob Davis, who will not be in town for next week's council meeting and therefore, will not vote on either appointment, said he knows Hollenbeck is up for consideration and he had no objections to him.

"I think he'll do a good job, if selected," Davis said. "He has the experience."

Hollenbeck, who understands he is the odds on favorite for the job, said, "As a long time friend of Jim (Trager), I would be honored to carry on his vision for the city. Jim was a knowledgeable man who was dedicated to this community. We'll see what happens."

Commissioner Gary Lewey agreed Hollenbeck is the man for the job.

"He has my support," Lewey said. "I have watched Jim (Hollenbeck) serve as mayor pro tem during Mayor Trager's absences in recent weeks and he has done well. He knows the finances of the city very well. He is a good choice to serve out the remainder of the term."

Trager was elected as public property commissioner in 1975 and served for 24 years in that post. He was elected mayor in 2007, serving until 2011 and elected again in 2015, serving until his death Dec. 31.

He also was president of the E911 Board for 20 years, was a member of the Marseilles Planning Commission from 1998 to 2005 and served on the Manlius Township Planning Commission from 1998 to 2005.

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