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Morrison mayor not running again

Thorndike seeking top spot

Mayor Roger Drey

MORRISON – Mayor Roger Drey says he won’t seek a fourth term. Meanwhile, Alderman Sarah Thorndike is circulating petitions to run for the top spot.

“When I end my term in May 2013, I will have served in city government for the past 18 years,” Drey said in a public letter last week. “I will be leaving office then and allowing someone else to take the helm.”

His letter appeared in last week’s editions of the Prairie Advocate in Lanark and the Whiteside Sentinel in Morrison and was posted on, a Morrison website.

“I want to thank the good people of Morrison for giving me the opportunity to serve them in city government during the past 18 years,” he said. “It has been an honor and a privilege.”

Drey didn’t return a call for comment.

The last 4 years have been tumultuous in city government. During that time, a part of a downtown building collapsed, and the city took ownership of it. The city contributed more than $300,000 to rebuild it; this year, a local restoration group paid $2 for the building.

Many questioned the spending and filled City Council meetings to protest. By most accounts, the eight-member council’s sessions turned from sleepy to boisterous.

Also, the city took on debt to build a sports complex. Opponents said it wasn’t a good use of taxpayers’ money.

In 2011, the four council members up for election didn’t run again. Officials lamented what they considered some people’s negativity.

Recently, Thorndike, who joined the council a few years ago, took out petitions. She is the only person to do that so far, according to City Hall.

Earlier this year, she led a committee to draft new regulations on the burning of yard waste. In September, the council approved the panel’s proposal to further limit burning.

She also served as chairwoman of a committee to develop building codes. Thorndike presented the committee’s findings, but the council took no action.

On some issues, she has been a pivotal vote – sometimes siding with the longer-serving members, other times voting with the newcomers. In August, for instance, she joined the majority in rejecting City Administrator Jim Wise’s proposal for a referendum to increase taxes to improve streets. She voted with the newer group.

Thorndike couldn’t be reached for comment.

Candidates can take out petitions until Dec. 24. They must file their petitions during Dec. 17-24. 

Four-year seats are up in all four wards. Ward 4 also has a race for the unexpired term of Ron Kallemeyn, who resigned during the summer. Alderman Scott Connelly was appointed to serve in the interim.

In Ward 2, Brian Zigler, 40, has taken out petitions. He said he was concerned with the city’s spending, including for the Main Street building and the sports complex.

“I hope we can help the town grow as far as getting new businesses without spending what we’re spending,” said Zigler, the manager at Payday Auto Credit in Morrison. “The public needs to have more of a voice as far as some of the spending.”

Michael DeSpain is circulating petitions to run for the 4-year term in Ward 4. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

Zigler said DeSpain is a good candidate.

“He wants change,” Zigler said. “A lot of people want change.”

City Clerk Melanie Schroeder is running for re-election. No one else has announced.

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