Mayor Fights for More Power

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MACHESNEY PARK (WIFR) -- A bizarre story out of Machesney Park. Village president Tom Strickland already told us he wasn't running for re-election, but now we have a better idea why. He's accusing the Village Board of pulling a fast one on him.

"The people out there think the Mayor is the top dog and he should be and he's not as it stands right now,” said Strickland.

Machesney Park Village President Tom Strickland says he unknowingly voted to lose his mayoral power, and now the local leader wants it back.

“I have no authority over anyone at Village Hall,” said Strickland.

It stems from a measure passed a year ago that gives the city administrator the sole ability to hire and fire. That person does not need the mayor's consent. Strickland voted yes, because administrators aren't elected positions and he wants to prevent a lot of turnover when a new mayor is elected. However, Strickland says he gave up too much power.

“The thing is that the wool was pulled over my eyes, by changing a few verbage words in there,” Strickland said.

Strickland says he didn't realize how the ordinance was written until it was too late. He's now trying to change the local law's wording to give future mayors more authority.

"Now I read everything, ever since that happened, I don't trust I just read everything,” said the Village President.

Some village trustees want the ordinance to stay put. Kate Tammen took the feud to the Post Journal, where she says "the Village President's position is the most important.” She goes on to say, “the administrator is in charge of all the staff within the village." Strickland says the ordinance doesn't seem fair.

We spoke with several trustees, who say Strickland should have read the ordinance before the vote. They say it's not about power.

Some feel he should be the "face of the Village". For example, if people report problems to the mayor, he wouldn't have to solve them. Instead he'll hand them over to the administrator.

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