Photo by Fred Pollard
Mayor Mike McCormick stands outside Godfrey Village Hall. The mayor is running for a third term in next April’s election.
When it comes to serving Godfrey as its mayor, Mike McCormick just feels his work is not yet finished.
“I love this job,” McCormick said while finishing breakfast and sitting at a desk filled with schedule updates, task notes and more than few Godfrey mementos acquired during his time in office. “I’ve always been a people person, and I love what we are doing here and what we have accomplished.
“I would like to run for one more term so I can see some of the fruits harvested from the groundwork that has been laid during my first two terms serving as mayor. These terms have really been a team effort. The Board of Trustees, the support team in the office, our department heads and committee chairs have the same goals in mind. Sometimes we don’t agree, but at the end of the day, we come to a decision that is best for the residents.”
This week, McCormick, 71, officially announced his intention to run for a third term during next spring’s election on April 4, saying he is proud of the growth the village has enjoyed while adopting the mindset “slow and steady wins the race.”
“A gradual growth in the community has been strong,” he said. “We have increased in business, not as fast as I would like to see, but it is there. Commercial growth helps pay the bills. That allows us to expand the parks, fix the roads and do other things to make our community better.”
Infrastructure has been a priority, and McCormick said due to his strategy of combining resources, techniques and technological systems, the Public Works division has completed more road repair and resurfacing projects in the past year than in any year in Godfrey’s past, with more repairs and improvements planned for next year. The village also has been focusing more attention on drainage issues and solutions than it had in previous years, he said.
The mayor, who has not accepted a pay rate increase since taking office, also credits using in-house employees to do road repair, including milling and overlay, which he said cuts the costs in half and allows more projects to be brought to the table. McCormick also said an increase in community involvement, with increased attendance at events and a focus on pride in the village, joins the aesthetically pleasing efforts to create a stronger community.
“I am most proud of the reduction of the tax levy every year that I have been mayor,” he said. “(At the same time) we have expanded our services to the residents of Godfrey.”
A major focus of McCormick’s second term has been promoting the village as attractive to businesses looking to plant their roots in the area. Supporting and initiating programs and incentives to bring new business helped Walmart, Ruler Foods, Dollar General and the Lake Drive Logistics transportation hub and multi-use facility settle in Godfrey.
McCormick owned and operated an Imo’s Pizza franchise for more than 14 years, selling the business in 2005 and then stepping in to serve as a village trustee from 2005 until his run for mayor in 2009.
“A gentleman serving on the board was not going to run again, and he and another man approached me and thought I would be a good fit to serve,” he said. “I am so glad I did; I only wish I had gotten involved earlier in my life.”
He credits his experience in business as a qualifier for his work in office.
“I came in with the attitude of running the village the way you would run a business, as well as the way you would run your home,” he said. “If you don’t have the money, you shouldn’t spend it. We reduced staff some, combined a few jobs, put some in savings and that allowed us to expand services.
“By being frugal for all that time, it has helped us this year to be able to do more street projects than the village has done in a single year in its history.”
Other developments during his term include the appointment of both a full-time development director and a part-time public safety administrator, an increased focus on creating an environmentally conscious village, implementation of a program providing address numbering services to disabled and elderly residents at no cost to the homeowner or the village, updated park facilities and new playground equipment, and the completion of several FEMA training modules on community disaster recovery, resulting in the development and implementation of a certified, comprehensive disaster emergency operations plan recognized as one of the best by the county and state.
Recently, the village received the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s Ready to Respond community award.
Regarding the future of the Godfrey Township, the mayor said its fate is most likely inevitable.
“There has been a lot of discussion,” he said. “Somewhere in the future, it will probably have to be absorbed by the village. It will take state action to do that, as well as the trustees, who also serve on the township board, to take an action. After that, the terms of officeholders would have to be served out. But I think it will happen.”
McCormick has been married to his wife, Linda, for 14 years.
“She has been a big supporter, both during my time as a trustee and as mayor,” he said. “Doing this job and doing it right takes a lot of time, and she has been patient and supportive. This is not an eight-to-five job.”
The couple enjoys traveling and golf.
“When we started dating, I was by far the better golfer,” he said. “I am not ashamed to admit today that is no longer the case.”
McCormick said if he is fortunate enough to serve another term, this will be his last. He currently has no contenders officially challenging his bid for mayor.