For the first time in two decades, the city of O’Fallon will have a new mayor. Unofficial totals show voters chose Alderman Herb Roach over City Clerk Phil Goodwin. However, Goodwin said at 11 p.m. Tuesday he was not yet ready to concede.
With all 22 precincts reporting, Roach finished with 3,024 votes (54 percent) to Goodwin’s 2,518 (45 percent).
“I can’t say thank you enough to my family, volunteers, friends and the citizens of O’Fallon. We started this journey over nine months ago and over 6,000 home visits ago,” said Roach, 70, who has been an alderman for six years. “You made me feel at home and invited me in when I visited your home. You shared with me your vision for our city. You invited me to come back and talk with you and your neighbors. You encouraged me to push for change that will improve the quality of life for all of our families.”
Roach, who had also served as an O’Fallon elementary school board member for eight years, is a retired executive and small business owner. He is currently vice president of SCORE, which provides counseling and training to small business owners.
Goodwin, 83, has been city clerk for 16 years. He is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and decorated Vietnam combat pilot, and he owns a small business, Phil Goodwin and Associates Insurance Co.
“I would also like to thank Phil Goodwin for the 16 years of service to our city as city clerk and the untold hours of volunteerism that both Phil and his wife have given to our community. And the unmeasurable thank you for his courageous military service to our country,” Roach said.
While Roach was declaring victory, Goodwin said he would not give up on his campaign until all absentee votes were counted.
“No,” Goodwin said when asked if he was going to concede after the final precinct reported in Tuesday night. “I’ll see what the final results will be. We’ll wait until the morning and see what happens then.”
Roach will succeed current Mayor Gary Graham, who decided not to seek re-election. Graham owns the record for the longest serving O’Fallon mayor — 1997 to date, which will be 20 years when his term ends.
“I look forward to meeting with Mayor Graham and our department heads during the next few weeks so that we can have a very smooth transition which will keep our city moving forward. I also plan on meeting with all of our city employees to get their input on how we can improve our services and improve our efficiencies,” Roach said.
With all 16 precincts in, Vernier won 1,090 to 710 — 58 percent to 38 percent.
“I definitely appreciate everyone’s vote and confidence in me. It means a lot,” Vernier said
Vernier, 57, has been mayor of Shiloh for 16 years. Before becoming mayor, he served as a village trustee for 16 years, first elected in 1984. Vernier has worked for Phillips Company, commercial plaster and drywall contractor, for 39 years. He serves as the company’s safety and operations director.
In the next four years, Vernier said his goals are to build a new police station and village hall, hire additional police officers and improve the village’s parks.
“We are going to have to. We are growing by leaps and bounds,” he said.
Working on continued commercial growth will also be key, he said, because that will allow the village to keep property taxes low.
“I’m going to concentrate on keeping our tax rate at the bottom. We are second-lowest in St. Clair County now. Fairview Heights, which is at zero, is No. 1,” he said.
Northway, 67, runs his own electrical contracting business. He has never held public office.
“It was a good, clean race here in Shiloh, and I really appreciated that. I really appreciated the votes I had, being a first-time candidate,” Northway said.
There were 1,867 total ballots cast in village races, 20 percent of 9,203 eligible voters.
Curt Libbra: 618-654-2366, ext 21