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Village Vision News

New mayor encourages accessibility, open dialogue

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mayor Marilyn Johnson

With Marilyn Johnson’s swearing-in ceremony completed at the May 6 Village Board Meeting, Forsyth’s first-ever female mayor was officially installed. Johnson is the Village’s eighth mayor, replacing Hap Gilbert, who had served since 2001.

Johnson, who has lived in Forsyth since 1968, comes to the job with vast experience as a Village trustee for 16 years and a wealth of knowledge she has gained in that capacity and as a resident and neighbor. She defeated trustee Eric Morr in the April 9 election.

Her goal, she said, is to “work on harmony amongst trustees.”

“I don’t expect us all to agree; it’s very good to have different views,” she said. “But I do want to be a cosensus builder.”

To that end, she said that she intends to promote “an open dialogue amongst trustees and to encourage them to make policy decisions that are consistent and fair” while reflecting the responsibility entrusted to them by residents. As someone who has been an active member of the community for so many years, Johnson is a big proponent of everyone being involved and feeling part of the process.

“I would encourage residents to come to board meetings with any concerns they have,” Johnson said, adding the reminder that Board of Trustees meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of the month in Forsyth Village Hall at 6:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

Another important item on Johnson’s mind as she begins her four-year term is accessibility. She encourages residents to get in touch with elected officials and with Village staff when they have a problem. And that includes contacting the mayor, she said, in order to find solutions.

Trustee Bob Rasho has worked alongside Johnson since 2007, but he knew her for years before that.

“I think she is the right person at the right time,” Rasho said. “She will bring civility to the dialogue. She has a passion for public service, and her love of Forsyth is obvious.”

Rasho added that Johnson has a great knack for listening to all sides of an issue before making a decision, and he praised her for her low-key manner. But he added this caveat: “People will make a mistake if they underestimate her.”

While the Village is vibrant and healthy, any small municipality in the state of Illinois, with all its financial difficulties, will need to proceed into the future with great caution, Rasho said. He considers Johnson capable and “trustworthy.”

Johnson knows there is hard work ahead, but she’s prepared and ready to get on with the task.

“I’m looking forward to the new challenge,” Johnson said. “I will work hard to make everyone proud.”

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