The Board President-Elect of the Village of South Jacksonville says he’s ready to get to work. Local attorney Tyson Manker beat out current Board Trustee Dick Samples in the April consolidated election and is set to take the helm in the village during their first meeting in the month of May next Thursday.
Manker’s win is of particular note as he won as a write-in candidate following his being removed from the ballot by the Village Electoral Board after a challenge by Samples to his petition.
Manker says he believes his win as a write-in speaks to the readiness for change within the residents of the village. He says he ran on the need for transparency in village government, and he intends to have an open-door policy from day one. Manker says he is already getting up to speed on the day-to-day operations in the village.
“I’ve gone and met with department heads and employees, just to observe what the day-to-day operations are and what people’s tasks are. Because my job as the CEO of the village is to make sure that things are efficient and that taxpayer resources are being used wisely. I want to step in and make things efficient and where we can improve without disrupting current operations.”
Maker says he is working on his priorities to address needs in the village so he can get to work right out of the gate. He says he has already heard feedback from residents in the village, and at the end of the day, that is who the village government works for.
“Part of me taking office is restoring the balance of trust and restoring the social contract. For too long government at all levels have not been responsive to the people. The higher you go up, and you look at Washington, D.C., too many of our representatives don’t represent our best interest.
So here at the local level, I want to make sure that the things people are telling me, such as the water is very hard in South Jacksonville, I want to see what we can do about that. We’re gonna have some situations coming up with the water, etc. that people aren’t even aware of. So I’ve got a lot of things being dumped into my lap that’s gonna come out in due time.”
Manker says he has already started to work on initiatives proposed during his campaign, such as rebuilding the local economy as well as plans to build what he says will be a massive American Flag that would be displayed near I-72.
Manker says one of the first projects he intends to undertake is attracting a large grocery store that ideally would be built near the Love’s Truck Stop and the interstate to help attract more business to the village while helping to aid areas south of town that have little access to a grocery store.
The Board of Trustees remains mostly unchanged with only two other seats on the board changing for the next term besides that of the Board President. Former Trustee Stacy Pinkerton was elected to a new term and will fill Samples’ seat. Krystin Hill is taking over for outgoing Megan Moore after running unopposed for Village Clerk.
Manker says after an election that was contentious at best, he looks forward to getting to work and hopes to be able to work with the Board of Trustees for the greater good of residents of the village.
“I have extended my olive branch so to speak to the entire board multiple times, whether that’s been reciprocated I won’t speak on. The people want us to do a job and I personally am able to say, you know what, let’s bury any hatchet, politics are politics, campaigning is over.
Now the work lies before us, so I really hope that the members of the board are going to work with me, and if they don’t they’re just gonna get in the way. So the feelings of wanting to make the village the best place possible, that is what I am entirely focused on.
Anyone who wants to work with me on making the village a better place, we’re gonna get along just fine. Politics are politics and the campaign is over now I look forward to getting to work for the things that people care about.”
Manker and the new Board members will be sworn in during their regular May meeting next Thursday the 6th.