Marion, IL mayor retires after a historic 55 years

MARION, IL (KFVS) - Over the past 55 years, the United States has had ten presidents, but in the same time, the city of Marion, IL has had just one mayor.

Bob Butler is one of the longest-serving mayors in our country and Wednesday, January 31, 2018, was his last day in the office.

Butler explained his last day was just like any other day.

"After 55 years, I will no longer be known as the mayor," Butler said.

A monumental shift for the city of Marion. Butler is the longest-serving mayor in the state of Illinois.

"There something to be said for longevity…there is consistency." Butler said, "I want to be remembered by one who did his best, I've tried to do the best I could at the greater interest of the people in Marion."

More than half a century in his seat, Butler has memories stored away for months. Some of those recent memories being important developments for the city like The Marion Cultural Civic Center restored after the fire in 1997 or even the building of The Hub Recreation Center.

"I have run for the mayor of the city of Marion because I like the job, I think I can do the job, I think I have done the job," Butler said.

Mayor Butler hired Dawn Tondini as the first female officer 25 years ago and today's she's Marion Chief of Police.

"I just can't say enough to thank him for the opportunities that he gave me because he had faith in me, which helps encourage me," Tondini explained. "He's always been encouraging and he's always been supportive of the police department...and he will be missed."

Alice Rix, the Marion City Clerk has worked with him for many years. "He's been a great boss, I certainly will miss him and he has done so much, so much for the city of Marion. I consider it one of the highlights of my life to be able to work with him," Rix said.

The mayor even offered suggestions for his successor, Anthony Rinella.

"I would wish him the best…but I will simply tell him, to be yourself. Be true to yourself. Be candid. Be Decisive. Consider what people say, but make up your own mind do not be swayed by first one element and another."

Butler ended his term on a high note, "I think if you do what needs to be done, if you do the right thing…everything will take care of itself."

Last week, January 23,  the mayor turned 91 years old.

He said he plans to spend his retirement relaxing with his wife.

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