Aurora -- James Fisher found himself in a new position this past year.
Fisher, who began serving as Ward 5 Councilman in 2003 and was Council president for seven years, entered the mayor's seat in November 2012 after former mayor Lynn McGill was forced to step down for medical reasons.
Fisher served for one year as mayor. He did not run for election in November and will finish his term Dec. 30 when Ann Womer Benjamin is sworn in.
He said he will spend retirement time and travel with his wife Mary Jo, along with doing "volunteer work, a little consulting and re-engaging in many of the activities I've enjoyed."
Fisher said he enjoyed his time as mayor.
"I believe I added value to the city based on my priorities, objectives and accomplishments," he said. "The directors, who represent city leadership, were tremendously valuable as I transitioned into the mayor's chair."
When asked what the most challenging part of being mayor was, Fisher said there is no simple answer.
"The unknown aspect of the job creates many challenges, and one's experience will determine how quickly you become productive," he said. "My business background was valuable as it relates to the operation of the city and associated financial and budget responsibilities.
"Also, my Council background provided an understanding of processes and finances. Setting priorities, defining objectives and time management can be challenging and is essential for success.
"Knowing that you are adding value and making a difference is gratifying," he added. "There's a huge time commitment when satisfying the vast responsibilities. You don't understand that until you're in the job."
IN ADDITION to thanking city officials, Fisher thanked his wife for her support and patience "that allowed me to focus on my responsibilities and my service to the residents of Aurora."
Council President George Horvat said he enjoyed working with Fisher in many capacities with the city.
"The most enjoyable has been with him as mayor and myself as Council president," Horvat said. "Jim and I have worked well together because we understood what each of us was capable of.
"Under Jim's leadership, the city never missed a beat. That, to me, is the true sign of a leader. I will miss working Jim, and I look forward to having the same relationship with the new incoming mayor [Womer Benjamin]."
Councilman Dennis Kovach said Fisher is "a great guy and good friend who was fun to work with."
Law Director Alan Shorr said Fisher's performance as mayor was outstanding, "as I assumed it would be. He has exhibited great leadership skills and vision for the city. The value he has added to the city will be missed."
Councilman Jim Vaca said Fisher was easy to work with.
"We were able to navigate through city business rather easily," he said. "There were occasions that if we didn't agree, but we dealt with it.
"Jim will tell you that I was the deciding vote on his appointment to Council, which was the start of his political career here. He will be greatly missed by Council department directors and residents."
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