Harrisburg looks at having new mayor after Fowler resigns - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Harrisburg looks at having new mayor after Fowler resigns

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HARRISBURG -- The city of Harrisburg will soon have a new mayor. In the past election, current mayor Dale Fowler beat incumbent Gary Forby for the 59th District. So who will fill Fowler's seat?

Fowler will remain mayor until he turns in his resignation. After that it rests in the hands of city council members. 

Right now, Harrisburg leaders are preparing to welcome a new face in the mayor's office.

"This is a big step for the city of Harrisburg," said council woman Natalie Miller.

Fowler will soon wear a different hat, as Illinois State Senator. He'll represent 13 counties in the 59th District, including Harrisburg.

"We knew going in it was not going to be easy. It's difficult to unseat an incumbent that's been in it so many years," said Fowler during a phone interview.

After Fowler resigns, finance commissioner, John McPeek will take over as mayor pro-tempore. If Fowler resigns before November 26, voters will elect a new mayor next April.

If Fowler resigns after November 26, he will remain mayor pro-temp until we then appoint one of us as acting mayor," explained Miller.

McPeek has served on the city council for 14 years. The four council members, including Miller, Beth Montfort and Richard Harper, will choose an acting mayor.

"When one of us is appointed as acting mayor, then that new mayor will appoint another person to fill the open commissioner seat," said Miller.

Council members appointed Fowler to the city's top job in 2014, after Mayor Ron Crank died. Voters elected Fowler in April of 2015.

"I am planning on a resignation, but the date has not been established. There's still a lot of great things that can be accomplished in the city and there's a few things I would like to see accomplished before I exit," explained Fowler. That includes plans for an RV Park and new business projects.

"We've had great vision for this city and hopefully my replacement will be a visionary as well and be proactive," said Fowler.

Miller said she looks forward to changes for Harrisburg and Fowler.     

"We are very happy for Dale, yes," added Miller.

Fowler will officially take office in Springfield January 1. He said he plans to stay in Harrisburg and open his regional office there.  The council's first meeting since the election is Thursday night.

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