Meet Your New City Council, Mayor and City Clerk
Here are your new Urbana City Council members, mayor and city clerk.
Bottom left: Maryalice Wu is the new First Ward alderwoman. She replaces Charlie Smyth, who was elected city clerk. Wu, 45, is the director of data analytics at the University of Illinois. She is a two-term senator on the UI Academic Senate. She has served recently on the Urbana Design Review Board. She is a 26-year resident of Urbana and has a son and daughter.
Second left: Mayor Diane Marlin. She co-founded the Southeast Urbana Neighborhood Association (SUNA) and served two terms as Seventh Ward alderwoman before being elected mayor on April 4. A resident of Urbana since 1971, she holds bachelors and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was a Registered Dietitian, served as an Adjunct Faculty Member at Parkland College and retired from UIUC as Coordinator of Research Programs in the Family Resiliency Center. Diane and her husband, John, have two grown children and two grandsons. She enjoys photography, hiking, camping, gardening, and cooking.
Bottom, Third left: City Clerk Charlie Smyth. The 61-year-old Smyth served as Ward 1 alderman from 1989-1993 and again from 2005-2017, including a stint as Mayor Pro Tem. He replaces longtime City Clerk Phyllis Clark. He is the current vice chair of Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband. Smyth is a UI alum and worked there many years as a statistician and IT professional. He has two grown sons. He grew up bilingual and speaks Spanish. He is an avid bicyclist, camper and organic gardener and a 34-year resident of Urbana.
Bottom right: Jared Miller, 32, replaces Marlin as the Ward 7 alderman. The council’s youngest member has a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the UI. He works as a DJ, talent buyer (books bands for venues) and a promoter (organizes shows). He’s a Democratic precinct committeeman in Cunningham 15. He enjoys weight lifting.
Top row, left: Eric Jakobsson, 78, a six-year council member representing Ward 2. He’s a professor emeritus at the UI in computational sciences and the husband of Naomi Jakobsson, a longtime state representative before her retirement a few years ago. He’s a 46-year resident of Urbana and the father of eight children (two by birth, six adopted) and 12 grandchildren. “My approach to policy is like my approach to scientific problems,” Jakobsson said. “I research a question and make a hypothesis about what will be the best solution for the most people.”
Top row, second left: Aaron Ammons, 46, won election to his first full term as Third Ward alderman in the April 4 election. Ammons was appointed alderman in January 2015, replacing his wife, Carol Ammons, after she was elected state representative. He is a building service worker at the UI; president of the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents more than 600 UI employees and more than 5,000 employees within the SURS system; co-founder of the grass-roots activist group, Citizens for Peace & Justice; and a trustee with the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois. He enjoys gardening and chess.
Top row, third left: Bill Brown, 57, was re-elected to serve a second term as alderman in Ward 4. Brown is a stickler for details and serves as a de facto fact-checker for the council and city staff. He works as an academic professional specializing in Geographic Information Systems at the UI College of Veterinary Medicine. He’s an 18-year member of the Champaign County American Civil Liberties Union, serving three years as president. He served the past four years as the council representative on the Urbana Free Library board. In his spare time, he’s an avid bicyclist and hiker. He has also completed the half marathon the past two years in the Illinois Marathon.
Top, fourth left: Dennis Roberts. Roberts, 70, just completed his third term representing Ward 5. He also was selected by fellow council members to serve as Mayor Pro Tem over the next four years. Highly active on the council, Roberts said his work is particularly focused on four areas: historic preservation; neighborhood revitalization; Urbana’s Sister Cities Program (which he initiated) and future greenway planning. He’s a founding member of the Historic East Urbana Neighborhood Association and helped create the Joseph Royer Arts and Architectural District and install plaques in front of many Royer buildings. He also helped create the Lierman Neighborhood Action Committee and the Lierman Neighborhood Community Garden.
Top row, right: Harold “Dean” Hazen, 46, recently retired as an Urbana police officer after a 23-year career in law enforcement. He will represent Ward 6 and replaces the retiring Michael Madigan. Hazen, a lifelong Republican, has an associate's degree in criminal justice and a bachelor's degree in liberal studies. Hazen currently works as a Master Firearms Instructor at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute. Hazen also owns and operates a concealed-carry training business, The Gun Experts. “I believe that we all need to serve things that are bigger than ourselves and serving as an alderman helps me fulfill that need,” he said about why he ran for alderman.