What it means to be mayor of Niles

Published 7:41 am Friday, November 12, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Students in Norene Squint's second grade class got a lesson in city government Thursday afternoon.
Niles City Mayor Michael McCauslin visited the students at Eastside Elementary School to talk to them about his job as mayor and answer their questions about how city government works.
The second grade class had been studying about the Niles community and about the roles community leaders play in local government, Squint said.
McCauslin, who lives a few blocks from the school, has two sons, T. J. and John, who both attended Eastside Elementary.
Many of the students were already familiar with another McCauslin, Michael's wife Tracy, who is a substitute teacher at the school.
The first question posed to McCauslin was if he was the coach of Notre Dame football.
The students' education began when one student asked McCauslin, "How did you get your job at city hall?"
McCauslin described the process of how to get on the ballot for mayor and how he was elected into office.
McCauslin explained what he does in his position of mayor, which is a part-time job for him. McCauslin also works at the University of Notre Dame as the assistant director of risk management.
The students learned about the role of Terry Eull, the city administrator, who handles the day to day operations of the city.
The mayor and the eight-member city council set the policy and direction for the city.
The mayor also taught the children about how the Niles skatepark on Front Street came into existence.
The council considered the idea and after years of planning and working on it, there's now a skatepark in Riverfront Park, he told the children.
But before the park could be built, it had to be paid for, McCauslin said.
He told the children how things in the city are paid for by tax dollars.
The mayor certainly grabbed the children's attention when he mentioned a project which the city was considering for the future.
The city council is currently considering building a park with sprinklers in downtown Niles, McCauslin said.
McCauslin invited all the students in the class to visit city hall, which used to be the mansion of the Chapin family.
The students asked about the downtown streetscape project and how the city created the heated sidewalks.
One of the final questions asked to the mayor was "Can you make our school not have homework for six weeks?