Doyle back at the helm in Manhattan
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org April 29, 2013 6:00PM
Manhattan Mayor Jamie Doyle
Updated: June 11, 2013 6:02AM
After eight years, Jamie Doyle is back in the mayor’s office in Manhattan. After three attempts, he ousted two-term Mayor Bill Borgo in the April 9 election, winning with 47 percent of the vote in a four-man race.
Doyle never went away, however. For six of those eight years, he served as a village trustee.
“I had a really good feeling this time,” he said. In the first election in 2005, Borgo unseated Doyle by a wide margin. In 2009, Doyle said he lost by 158 votes. This time, the two political adversaries were separated by 307 votes. Borgo earned 410 votes to Doyle’s 717.
“I really believe in Manhattan, I kept running to bring the town back together,” Doyle said.
One of his first orders of business was to appoint his other mayoral opponent, Mike Adrieansen, to fill the two-year vacancy he leaves on the board of trustees. Adrieansen, a new face in Manhattan’s political landscape, got 374 votes.
Although Doyle said he reached out to a lot of new people who didn’t previously know him as a mayor, he also said, “There is no old Manhattan, new Manhattan. There is only one Manhattan.”
“I want to move Manhattan forward,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting.”
Residents may see a difference between former Mayor Doyle — who served from 1993 to 2005 — and the just elected Mayor Doyle.
“I like to think I’ve learned from the past,” he said. “I will be more open with people. Before if I had something in my head, I tried to force my opinion on people. I have more respect for people’s opinions now. I also think I will be more patient than I was before.”
“We serve people — not the other way around. We will do the best we can to make them understand what we can do for them,” Doyle said.
A disappointed Borgo attributed his loss to a low voter turnout and the inability to bring in significant commercial development.
“No matter who is mayor, people have been through a very tough time,” Borgo said. “They think change will make it happen.”
The majority of voters wanted change, Doyle said, and a majority of those voted for the experience he brings to the table — 12 years as mayor, six years as trustee, six on the park board, six years on the plan commission, 20 years with the fire department, 10 years as a softball coach.
He believes the board of trustees has been divided, and he wants to see everyone working together now.
“I plan to keep board informed. It’s not ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ any more,” Doyle said.
He will change the board’s committee structure and include citizens on every committee, with a trustee as chairman. The mayor-elect plans to add a citizens advisory committee, “so I know what is going on in the community.”
Economic development is high on his list, as Doyle wants to work with developers and businesses to fill the empty storefronts and market Manhattan — letting people know that the racetrack, casino and Joliet Slammers baseball team are right in its back yard.
Residents must also support the businesses that are here, he said.
While Manhattan has weathered the recession fairly well, Doyle said there may be a need to reduce administrative costs.
He wants to adopt a more casual, customer-friendly atmosphere, open the village hall for a half day on Saturday and get acquainted with the folks in Springfield.
“This town was great for me to grow up in,” Doyle said. “My great-grandparents grew up here, and I hope my grandkids will. I don’t want to lose that family-friendly atmosphere.”