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Published: Thursday, 10/25/2007

5 seeking Monroe's mayoral hot seat

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MONROE - List out the "attractions" of the job as Mayor of the City of Monroe and it's hard to see why anybody would take the job, let alone campaign for it.

Consider:

•a salary of $15,000 a year, which is probably less than minimum wage, given the hours involved;

•a title without the corresponding power, because it's a city manager form of government;

•responsibility for a budget that, because of the local economy, is hemorrhaging red ink;

•an unwritten requirement that you have listed contact information so that constituents can reach you all day and all night, and

•a two-year term of office that requires beginning a fresh campaign to keep the job just after one would learn how to do it.

Which makes it all the more a remarkable that five different people are spending a lot of money vying to be the City of Monroe's next mayor on Nov. 6.

They include a former mayor, two long-serving councilmen, and two community activists.

The candidates:

William "Bill" Burkett: Mr. Burkett, 58, has been on council since 1999 and also served a single term in 1992 representing Precinct 1. He said he decided to run for office when Mayor C.D. "Al" Cappuccilli opted not to seek re-election.Mr. Burkett said he wants most to be able to handle the coming budget cuts with compassion.

"I'd like to make this transition to a smaller government an honorable transition. I want [longtime employees] to be able to leave with dignity, and I think there are funds within our pension program to allow that," Mr. Burkett said.

"It's always going to hurt when people have to lose their job. But I think if 15 people went out [under an early-retirement buyout], we'd save $500,000 or $600,000 a year," he said.

John Iacoangeli: Mr. Iacoangeli, 55, served a single term as the city's mayor from 2003-05, though he said he's spent 35 years working for and with local governments in his role as a planner. Mr. Iacoangeli said he wants to be mayor again because he enjoyed his time in office and has more that he wants to do.

"I think what I'd do a little different is, at the outset, I'd work a lot closer with the various boards and committees," Mr. Iacoangeli said.

"The nice thing is that I haven't been out long enough so that they've forgotten about me. I think they know my management style now."

Pat McElligott: This campaign is the second for Mr. McElligott, 62, an insurance and real estate professional who ran unsuccessfully for City Council's Precinct 3 seat in 2005. He said last week he's on the ballot to help reprioritize city expenditures, even in tough times.

"As I lived in my neighborhood, I kept realizing that nothing was ever done to keep up and make repairs on infrastructure," Mr. McElligott said. "I kept paying more and more taxes, and nothing was ever done."

Cheryl McIntyre: Ms. McIntyre, 56, is a former executive director of the Community Foundation of Monroe County, and a former chairman of the local United Way campaign. She said she is running, in part, to return civil discourse to local government.

"I think I have something unique to offer Monroe right now. I'm much more of a positive thinker. My strengths are in that I'm able to pull different people with different views together," Ms. McIntyre said.

"As far as running the city, we have a city manager who's very well-versed in what he does. I see mayor's role as being a facilitator between different boards and commissions."

Mark Worrell: Although it's been four years since Mr. Worrell, 58, last served on City Council, the retired teacher holds the city record for years on council, serving 10 two-year terms between 1980 and 2003. He's stayed active with the city in the last four years, however, on boards and commissions, which is why he said he is running for mayor.

"I've got a grave concern about the finances of the city," he said. "We're going to have about an $800,000 deficit this year, and I'm projecting $3 million for next year," Mr. Worrell said. "Government has to right-size just like business does. The cost of government should be reflective of the ability of the taxpayer to pay the taxes."

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.



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