Quincy aldermen hear first reading of ordinance to allow Miller to establish office on second floor of City Hall
QUINCY — The first reading of an ordinance to lease office space in City Hall to Congresswoman Mary Miller enticed one speaker to address the Quincy City Council during Monday’s meeting, but Quincy Mayor Mike Troup said the arrangement would only be temporary.
Miller handily won the 15th District Congressional seat over Democrat Paul Lange of Mendon during the November election. She pledged during her campaign to put a district office in Quincy, the largest city in the newly reconfigured district. The office will be the first in Quincy for an active member of Congress since Dick Durbin was a congressman representing West-Central Illinois in the late 1980’s.
The redistricting that took place for the 1990 election eliminated two seats and took Quincy out of Durbin’s district. Starting in 1992, Democrat Lane Evans of Rock Island represented Quincy and most of Adams County and he never had a district office in Quincy.
When Durbin was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, he opted to put district offices in Chicago, Springfield, Rock Island and Carbondale.
Troup said the office space Miller will be leasing for $500 a month is on the second floor between the controller’s office and the technology department. The lease is set to expire May 2023.
“They’ve narrowed (the choice for a permanent office) to two locations,” Troup said. “It probably won’t go beyond May, and they could get out earlier. A lot depends on if they can get their (permanent) space get renovated on time.”
Kathy Frederick addressed the City Council, questioning why the city is providing a publicly funded resource to “a very partisan politician.” She also noted that the city has 43 commercial real estate spaces covering more than 619,000 square feet available on the OfficeSpace.com website.
“Was Mrs. Miller unable to find suitable space in a privately held property?” Frederick asked.
She also asked if the city would provide space for Sen. Dick Durbin or Sen. Tammy Duckworth if they wanted offices in Quincy.
“Is the city prepared to deal with protesters who may see Mrs. Miller as one of the most divisive members of Congress?” Frederick asked. “Will the city be providing extra security for her office, and if so, will she be paying for that security? This is a bad idea, and it’s a bad precedent to set. It opens the city up to a lot of questions about the motivation for this arrangement and for keeping this running.”
Troup answered a couple of Frederick’s questions as she left the podium.
“Although there’s plenty of offices available (in the city), there are requirements that a congressional office has to have security-wise, and they are working on a more permanent location,” he said. “This space is really just a short term rental until the other space they plan on moving to is built out as they need to.
“If Durbin or Duckworth would like to open up a Quincy office. I’d be thrilled to talk to them. So when you talk to them next, please let me know. I’d love to get on the call with you.”
A third reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Jan. 23. Aldermen likely will vote on the ordinance at that meeting.
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