John Phillips for Decatur Mayor

Support John

We appreciate your support of our campaign. John is committed to making positive changes in Decatur - and he needs your help!


For many years Decatur has lost population, jobs and the value of our homes and businesses. It serves no purpose to try and blame anyone, but we have to do something different. Continuing on the present path will almost certainly provide unacceptable results. In my personal career I have been a change agent. If elected, I will definitely turn things upside down, doing this with the participation of every person in the community. No one wants change for change sake, but major change to achieve improved results is essential. Here are the changes I propose:

  1. Lower the city portion of real estate property taxes from 20-40%, without bankrupting the city.
  2. Create a city staff leadership that will not say no to the needs of anyone.
  3. Disagreement with managers is to be encouraged and never lead to termination. City employees must never fear debating policy initiated by management or the Council.
  4. The Mayor and Council must manage the city manager, not the other way around. His performance must reflect the direction of the elected officials which must reflect the public.
  5. Administrative Court hearings must allow represented or individual challenge without penalty.
  6. City employee pension funding must be publically discussed

Everyone Participates: Full participation in our city’s future, by everyone, is the path to success. We have set up the city (and other) elections with the goal of determining winners and losers and only the winners get to participate in decision making. We need the participation of every member of our community to succeed.

  1. Labor organizations are a key part of the community that responds to every worthy cause. These a proven leaders that can help recruit new business. If we demean labor groups, we demean our city.
  2. Non-union businesses in Decatur are a tremendous asset and show potential employers there is more than one way to get work done and you can do both successfully. I want to see a joint labor council made up of both groups working to attract people and jobs to Decatur.
  3. The minority community of Decatur can and should be one of our greatest assets. If they believe that this is a great place to live and work, they can help us attract employers that will in turn attract diverse customers for their products and services. Someone on the city staff should see it as their job. To promote minority interests in both work and recreation.

I believe we are a city that can be a star rather one that is demeaned by our residents and others.


We, Marcia and I, moved to Decatur 25 years ago and have lived in our home on the lake, 80 Allen Bend Drive, ever since. Two children, John Jr. and Marie Christine Gregory, and a niece, Stephanie Claytor came to visit from college after we moved here, found and married their respective Decatur spouses, bought homes in the area and are raising our 8 grandchildren here.

Education: University of Michigan degrees in Civil Engineering, BS, and Public Works Administration, MS, and had the good fortune to be part of three big ten championship basketball teams, led by Cazzie Russell. At team reunions I remind Cazzie that I live in the city whose high school basketball team beat his for the state championship in 1962.

I later received an MBA from the University of Chicago where I learned finance and met Marcia. We were married after graduation.

Professional Career: For 20 years I worked in large corporations as a manager and/or officer, first with P&G, then Swift, Esmark, Bunge and then Tate & Lyle in Decatur. I came to Decatur in 1991 as a management participant in the Staley lockout, a very difficult time for Decatur.

After 1993 I traveled around the country from Decatur to work with a number of companies in cost related financial difficulties, as a hands on turnaround advisor. During this period our family purchased/managed four restaurants in Decatur including the Waterfront, Steak on the Lake, Gregory’s and the Richland grille. All these made a lasting contribution to Decatur and employed a number of people.

Our restaurant phase, 18+ years, lead to further investment in Decatur as part of Barton Manufacturing, where we financed its doubling in size and hiring an additional 30 local people. We led the purchase of the empty Zexel facility leading to its present full utilization of an abandoned facility. We purchased Mason’s Amoco and totally renovated it as a key business in the West End.

Additionally, I teach accounting at Millikin and finance in the SCORE business startup program.

Service in Decatur: City boards include the Civic Center board, this is my fourth year on the Decatur Public Library Board and second year as its president.  I am and have been for several years the treasurer of NWRAPS, the near west neighborhood association, and served one year as the treasurer of CONO. I am a steward in my church. For several years I have been a counselor as part of the Community Restorative Board working on diversion of adults to productive lives rather than prison.

City Government: This is the highest area of interest in my life, beyond family. I have attended all city council meetings for over 10 years, participating in many with ideas and suggestions, both constructive and critical. It began with a failed effort to change the form of city government to get neighborhood representation, which did change many city and council practices in dealing with neighborhoods. We have sponsored candidates successfully and unsuccessfully. We have interacted with city staff at all levels and know those that are great contributors and those that need skill improvement.



University of Michigan Civil Engineering B.S.C.E.

Part of 3 Big Ten Championship Basketball Teams

University of Michigan Public Works Administration M.S.C.E.

University of Chicago M.B.A.  - 1st in class

Served on Civic Center Board

Serving On Library Board

Current Treasurer of NWRAPS

Former Treasurer of CONO

Steward of our church

John Phillips for Decatur

Vote for John Phillips for Mayor of Decatur this spring.  A vote for positive change and moving forward for our community