EFFINGHAM — Former Effingham Police Chief Mike Schutzbach has joined the race for Effingham mayor.
Schutzbach said no single issue caused him to seek the office – just a desire to serve the public.
He joins incumbent Jeff Bloemker and Scott Ealy, an Effingham lawyer, in the April 2019 election for mayor.
A lifelong resident of Effingham, Schutzbach, 55, said he has more than 30 years of service to the community, including 13 years as police chief, so he has shown that he's dedicated his professional life to serving the residents of Effingham.
Schutzbach said he will offer new ideas for the City of Effingham.
“I am proud of my public service, but I am not done yet,” said Schutzbach. “I will put my experience to work for the citizens of Effingham. Together, we will make Effingham a great place to live, work and play.”
He announced his retirement as police chief in August 2016, effective that Sept. 1. But he stayed on until December 2016 as interim chief until his replacement could be found. The council hired Jeff Fuesting, an Effingham native, who had been working with the St. Louis County Police Department, where he was captain at the time of being hired in Effingham.
“I wish to serve the Effingham community and protect the quality of life,” Schutzbach said in a press release. “I will work hard to preserve the priorities of residents and the city’s financial stability. I have always been financially conservative, and I will stand with the citizens of Effingham to stop the city from raising property taxes.”
Schutzbach said he would work with existing businesses to help them reach their goals and to work to bring new jobs to Effingham. He also will focus on workforce development to ensure that residents can find careers in the community, and business owners can find qualified workers to fill open positions.
His other priorities include working with organizations and developers to create affordable housing; continuing to improve infrastructure; and creating an open dialogue between City Hall and residents.
“With my experience, I am prepared to take on the tough challenges that come with the position, and I plan to work hard to represent all Effingham residents,” said Schutzbach.
Schutzbach said he understands the importance of community members working together to accomplish their goals, and he added that he is not afraid to stand up and do what is necessary.
“I have learned over the years that you get more accomplished when you work together than when you fight with others,” he said. “But I also have learned that you have to be prepared to take on tough fights and challenges to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
Schutzbach, the son of Jerry and Marcie (Willenborg) Schutzbach, has been married to Crystal (Probst) for more than 30 years. The couple has two adult sons, Andrew and Justin. Schutzbach is a graduate of St. Anthony High School. He earned an associate in applied science degree in law enforcement from Lake Land College in 1983 and a bachelor of science degree in law enforcement administration from Western Illinois University in 1984.
He also is a graduate of the University of Illinois Police Training Institute, Northwestern University Executive Management Program, Northwestern University Center for Public Safety School of Staff and Command, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy. Other experience includes managing a local hotel, working as a Court Service Officer and Probation Officer, and teaching Law Enforcement at Lake Land College.
He is a member of St. Anthony’s of Padua Parish and the Effingham Elks Lodge.
Schutzbach is a member of several professional organizations, including Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Northwestern University Center for Public Safety Alumni Association, FBI National Academy Associates, Central Illinois Association of Law Enforcement Executives, Southern Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
He is the Past Ex-Officio Member of Effingham County Youth Commission, Effingham County 911 Board, where he served as secretary/treasurer; National Emergency Number Association or NENA 911; Illinois Police Training and Standards Board (MTU 13); and a member of the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center-Illinois State Review Committee.
Dawn Schabbing can be reached at email@example.com or 217-347-7151, ext. 138