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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Henry Mayor Randy Constantine resigns and leaves town

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  • HENRY – Henry Mayor Randy Constantine ended his turbulent seven months in office by resigning Friday, saying he feels he can't get anything done and gets "no respect" from the City Council.
    "It's more like disrespect from the council," Constantine said.
    Constantine, who has reportedly discussed resigning in conversations over several weeks, followed through Friday by delivering a one-sentence letter to City Clerk Jean Goldner and having it notarized.
    "Effective Monday December 16, 2013 at 0900 I am resigning as Mayor of Henry, IL," it said.
    The short-term mayor, a retired child welfare investigator who had also worked as a police officer, and his friends were preparing Friday to load a rental truck so he could move back to his hometown of Ottawa.
    "I figured it would be best to get everything loaded up and get out of here before the snowstorm," he said.
    Constantine, a Democrat and relative newcomer to Henry, upset Republican incumbent David Donini in the April 9 election. He promptly stirred council opposition by refusing to re-appoint then-police Chief Bill Calbow, who resigned in August.
    The chief issue simmered for several months before Constantine and the council recently agreed on the appointment of former Chillicothe chief Steve Maurer. But Constantine said he believes the council remained determined to fight him on other issues.
    "I figured, give them a few months and they would do their jobs and we could work together. But they're still mad about the election, and they're not going to get over it," he said. "As long as I stay in here as mayor, they're going to fight me on everything I do, and that's not good for this city."
    Alderman Shawn Carr, who campaigned alongside Constantine as a fellow Democrat but later differed with him on some matters, seemed shocked Friday by the resignation. He said Constantine had mentioned that possibility but seemed to have decided against it.
    "I thought we had talked him out of it," said Carr, who also offered a different take on what Constantine called the council "fighting" him.
    "I don't think they were fighting him," he said. "I think he had some good ideas for the city, but he was reacting to stuff before he really thought about it."
    Constantine, 61, said the stress of the situation was taking a toll on his health, and that was a key factor in his decision. A cardiologist told him "stress can kill you," he said.
    "I'm sorry to the voters that I let them down," he said. "But the stress has gotten so bad that I just can't do this anymore."
    The resignation is on the posted agenda for council acceptance at Monday's meeting. That session will begin with the council selecting a mayor pro-tem, Goldner said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Constantine said he designated Alderman Gene Schrowang for that role. Schrowang did not immediately return a call, but Goldner said it would be a council decision anyway.
    "He doesn't have the authority to do that," she said.
    Gary L. Smith can be reached at (800) 516-0389 or glsmith@mtco.com. Read his Northern Circuit blog at pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @Glsmithx.

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