Mike Absher takes seat as Marion mayor - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Mike Absher takes seat as Marion mayor

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MARION (WSIL) -- Hundreds gathered at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center for a passing of the torch as the new mayor takes office. 

Mike Absher is the first mayor elected since Bob Butler and during the entire meeting Monday night, Butler was mentioned and talked about frequently as the day was full of mixed emotions. 

The meeting started with a moment of silence and a prayer for Butler who died Monday morning at the age of 92. 

"I'm going to ask that we pause for a moment of silent," Pastor Bill Rucker said.

Monday was a somber day in the city of Marion. 

"No one, and I mean no one, could ever love the City of Marion more than Bob," Rucker said. 

It was also a day of new beginnings, as businessman Michael Absher became the official mayor of Marion. 

John Stoecklin and John Barwick, Jr. were also sworn in as new commissioners for the city at the meeting. 

Absher told the packed auditorium about a new position he is bringing to the city, the mayor's chief of staff. 

"The mayor cannot be more than one place at one time," Absher said. 

The council appointed Cody Moake to the position. 

Absher said while in office, he has three goals. 

"We have to find a new purpose, seek it out and implement it in the purpose for commerce to happen on that mall property," Absher said. 

Absher said his second goal is to welcome more entrepreneurs. 

"We have to reach out to businesses and potential residents where they are and not wait on them to come to us," Absher said. 

And he said his third goal is to make Marion more than just business friendly. 

"We need to look at our town with our visitor glasses on, just like the people we seek to recruit here," Absher said. 

Former mayor Anthony Rinella and Absher considered canceling Monday's meeting as the town was mourning the loss of someone special, but both knew Butler would not have wanted that. 

"I think that Bob Butler wouldn't want anything other than progress for the city to go on," Absher said. 

During the meeting, Absher did not appoint a new chief of police or city administrator, but said they are in the process of searching for a new chief. 

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