BRADLEY — Bradley’s Mike Watson often is referred to as mayor these days, even on the village’s website.
But that title technically is incorrect. Watson, who was re-elected as a village trustee in the April 2 election, actually is mayor pro tem. And that title makes a difference.
After Mayor Bruce Adams abruptly resigned in late April, the village board had a decision to make — either appoint a mayor or mayor pro tem. The board went with selecting Watson as mayor pro tem, meaning he still is a trustee.
If Watson runs for mayor in 2021 and loses, he still is a trustee for another two years.
If he had been appointed mayor, he would no longer be considered a trustee.
Trustee Bob Redmond is the lone Democrat on the village board. The other five members, including Watson, are members of the Progressive Citizens Party.
Redmond said he would rather the village not hold open a trustee’s seat in case Watson loses.
“I would say if he wants to be a mayor, be a mayor. Take the position,” Redmond said.
In an interview, Watson said a mayor pro tem lacks some of the mayor’s powers. Unlike a mayor, the mayor pro tem cannot veto village board actions or break ties.
Watson, who has run for mayor unsuccessfully twice before, wouldn’t say whether he intended to run in 2021. But he said if he prevailed in the mayor’s election, he would fill his vacant trustee’s position.
He said Bradley residents showed they “desperately” wanted change in the April election when they shifted the board’s power from Democrats, who long held control, to the Progressive Citizens.
“For our team, we wanted to take full advantage of the win that we earned,” Watson said. “We want to have our cake and eat it, too, and maintain Progressive Citizens power.”
Watson said that although he lacks veto power, he doubts it would be used anyway because his party is unified.
He said his goal is to keep trustees in the loop.
“I encourage them to personally come into village hall and reach out to our staff, our administration and our finance director. I want them to feel comfortable reaching out,” Watson said.