Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said prior to the election that all the competition had sharpened his style of governing. Well, he's going to have to up his game even more after the major drubbing his Good Government Party took this week.
Eckert won, but by fewer than 500 votes. He won by a plurality, not a majority, and just 10 percent of registered voters in the city cast ballots to give him another term. If Eckert had had one opponent instead of two, Belleville likely would have been buzzing about a new mayor.
Eckert perhaps will wish he lost when he fully grasps the challenges that lie ahead. In the past he had loyal allies Treasurer Jerry Turner and Clerk Linda Fields for advice and counsel. But the voters swept them out of office, as they did four of his party's aldermen who were up for re-election.
In the past Eckert's ideas were virtually guaranteed passage by his head-nodding party members on the City Council. Eckert previously did not always inform independents of issues in advance of meetings because he felt they couldn't be trusted, but now he is going to have to build consensus and persuade them to gain passage of his ideas.
The new voices and fresh ideas will be good for Belleville, but expect some big and difficult adjustments in the process.