MARION — The longest-serving mayor in Illinois is preparing to retire at the age of 91.
Bob Butler has served as mayor of Marion for nearly 55 years, The Southern Illinoisan reported. He took office in 1963 and has been elected by three generations of voters.
“On Thursday, I will get up in the morning and turn on the television to catch the news. Then, I don’t know what I’ll do,” Butler said. “I want to do some writing. It will give me the opportunity to reflect and call up things I pushed to the back of my mind.”
Butler said he has always had his own way of doing things, but that he doesn’t believe he was much different than anybody else would be given the time he has served.
“Always, I have maintained a stable and consistence approach to things that is flexible, and I occasionally found it necessary to change,” Butler said. “I have certain truths and values which never change.”
He said his decisions weren’t always the most popular, but that he was usually justified in the long run.
“I have been given more credit than I deserved and more criticism than was warranted. I’ve learned you cannot let criticism deter you from what is right,” Butler said. “If I am convinced I’m doing what is right, I am not concerned about criticism.”
Butler expects an easy transition with incoming Mayor Anthony Rinella. He said he thinks Rinella will prove he’s up for being mayor between now and the next election.