GENEVA – Bob McQuillan has announced he plans to run for mayor in Geneva.
McQuillan, 56, said the economy was one of the driving forces that inspired him to run. He hopes to find a way to increase revenue for the city and decrease the tax burden on residents.
“I’d like to work with other aldermen and city staff and come up with a marketing plan to increase sales taxes,” he said.
Through that marketing plan, he said he also wants to revive Geneva’s downtown and fill empty storefronts. He wants to provide taxpayers relief through electric, gas and water rates.
“My focus will be on generating revenue,” he said, adding he wants to keep property taxes as low as possible.
McQuillan will run against Mayor Kevin Burns in the April municipal election. Burns, who is serving his third term, is planning to run to retain his seat in April.
“I look forward to learning more about Mr. McQuillan’s platform,” he said.
McQuillan has played a prominent role in the taxpayer watchdog group, TaxFACTS, which he said has helped him understand how property taxes are calculated and how government entities work.
He also spent 35 years working in sales and marketing positions and currently is the regional sales manager for a marketing company called the Dialogue Company based in New Jersey. That background, he said, gives him a good foundation to lead because he has managed his own business and has worked with budgets both large and small.
“While [my job is] not an elected position, it certainly bodes well with what’s needed today,” he said. “I don’t consider myself a politician ... but I do see the need for a new type of leader.”
Transparency is another cornerstone of McQuillan’s campaign. He wants the mayor’s office to be accessible to anyone, which is why he plans to schedule set office hours during the day, evening and possibly Saturday mornings.
He said if everything is done behind closed doors, only a small number of people get involved and learn about the issues.
“That’s the key to everything – to be as transparent as possible,” he said. “If you know the issues, you can always handle them.”
McQuillan said he has previously run for school board and a state representative seat but never has held public office. However, he said his interest in the Geneva school board helped him learn how government entities work.
“The school board is aware of how economy is affecting local residents here. With four seats opened up in April, there are several good candidates for those seats, and I think I’ve already laid the groundwork – the TaxFACTS group has laid the groundwork – for the school district for the next couple of years,” he said.
“I would do the same thing for the city. While I have not attended all the City Council meetings, I have attended quite few, and I have an idea of how they work and done research on the budget and key issues surrounding the city.”
McQuillan and his wife, Karen, have lived in Geneva since 1997, and their three children graduated from Geneva High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in food marketing and a master’s degree in business administration from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
• Shaw Media reporter Brenda Schory contributed to this report.