News Local/State

Danville Mayor Eisenhauer Chosen For Rantoul Administrator Post

Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer

Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer, speaking at a 2015 concert by the Danville Municipal Band. Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

After four terms as mayor of his home town, Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer is stepping down to become Rantoul’s village administrator.

Rantoul Mayor Charles Smith announced on Friday that he had chosen Eisenhauer for the administrator’s post, over the other remaining finalist, East Peoria city administrator Jeffery Eder.

Eisenhauer will succeed Rick Snider, who announced in June he would be stepping down for personal reasons and relocating to the east coast. Smith said Snider’s last day with the village would be October 22.

The Rantoul Village Board will take a confirmation vote on Eisenhauer’s appointment at their meeting on Tuesday, October 9. Pending conformation, his first day with the village will be November 5.

Smith says he thinks Eisenhauer’s experience in Danville will be useful in Rantoul, because both towns have struggled to come back after losing major employers.

Danville has lost several industrial employers, such as the General Motors foundry, which closed in 1996 after employing a work forced that peaked at around 3,000. In Rantoul’s case, it was the closure in 1993 of the Chanute Air Force base. 

“That’s now starting to turn around, and we’re seeing some development and some new interest in Rantoul,” said Smith. “And I think that Mayor Eisenhauer brings a lot of experience to the table, in being able to attract and draw new industry and new commercial development into our community.

Eisenhauer says he sought the Rantoul position, because of the possibility of change to the office of mayor in Danville.

Danville voters could pass a referendum in the November 6 election, switching their city to council-manager government, and making their mayor’s job part-time. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer opposes the referendum. But says the possibility of it passing caused him to start looking for other opportunities. And he says he was fortunate to find a position in Rantoul, which he describes as a town with “so many exciting opportunities”, with the rise of new employers and new housing.

“The key really is that the community (of Rantoul) is now looking ahead to what opportunities exists, rather than behind them, and what once existed and has since left,” said Eisenhauer. “So I’m really energized about being a part of a community that is really looking ahead. That is really setting its sights on what the future is going to look like, and gives me the opportunity to use the experience that I’ve gained in a very similar situation in Danville.”

Eisenhauer says it will not be easy to leave Danville, where he has long worked as a radio sportscaster, and was first elected to the city council in 1993, before becoming mayor in 2003.

“As difficult of a decision as it is to leave my home town, and to leave a position that I have loved so dearly over the last 15 and a half years, I also recognize that very, very few perfect opportunities like this would ever come about again,” said Eisenhauer.

Eisenhauer plans to start work as Rantoul Village Administrator on November 5th. Before that happens, the Danville City Council will vote October 16, to choose one of their number to be acting mayor until next spring’s election.

Eisnenhauer says whichever Danville alderman becomes acting mayor must remember that the job is temporary --- unless they run for, and win, a full term.

“When you’re thinking about the fact that it’s a five-month position, also think about where you are both politically and professionally,” said Eisenhauer. “And whether or not a short-term acting mayor situation is pertinent for you and your political and professional life as it is today.”