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Quill Reflects on 16 Year Career as Auburn’s Mayor


With under a month left before retirement, Auburn Mayor Mike Quill sat down with Finger Lakes News Radio to reflect on his 16 years as mayor.

Born in Auburn in 1949, Quill joined the United States Marine Corps in 1968, fighting in the Vietnam War, and retiring in 1972. After serving in the Marines, he worked as a salesman for PepsiCo until joining the Auburn Fire Department. Quill said his political ambitions began with his grandfather; however, he’d have to delay his plans due to serving with the fire department.

“My grandfather Quill was a City Councilman for 20 years and I thought I would like to try that someday,” said Quill, “but because I worked for the fire department, you’re not allowed to be your own boss so to speak.”

Quill served for 32 years in the Auburn Fire Department, eventually becoming its chief.

“I wish I could go back to it; it was great,” he reminisced. “I worked with my dad and many other great people that I learned from.”

Once he retired from the department, Quill was asked to run by the Democratic party and he said yes; however, as there were no spots left for council nominees on the Democratic line, he decided to make a mayoral run.

“As it turned out, they already had enough potential candidates so there was no opening for a council member. My friends, and especially my family, convinced me to run for mayor. I never intended to be mayor; I had hoped to be a council member someday. But after that, we worked very hard, my family, my friends… and I do not regret it whatsoever.”

Quill defeated the Republican candidate, incumbent Tim Lattimore, to win the mayoral race in 2007, This would mark the beginning of his 16-year career serving as the city’s mayor.

When looking back at how the city has progressed during his tenure, the mayor said it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his two city managers – Doug Selby followed by Jeff Dygert.

“Between Doug Selby and Jeff Dygert, city council [and I] really came into our own and got many great projects online and I’m very grateful for the work these two gentlemen have given us.”

He added though that there is still work to be done. He cited the health of Owasco Lake as an example of a challenge that the city has faced throughout his time as mayor, but he’s confident his successor is more than up to the task of protecting the lake.

The November 2022 announcement that Quill would not seek reelection meant that there’d be a new face in the mayor’s office for the first time since 2008. He¬†endorsed fellow Democrat, City Councilor Jimmy Giannettino for the position. Giannettino will succeed Quill in the role following his November victory at the ballot box.

Quill previously told Finger Lakes News Radio that, once retired, he hopes for a quiet life as a private citizen.

When asked if he had anything he’d like to say to the people of Auburn after serving as their mayor for nearly two decades, he responded with two words, “Thank you.”

His last day in office will be New Year’s Eve.

Get the top stories on your radio 24/7 on Finger Lakes News Radio 96.3 and 1590, WAUB and 106.3 and 1240, WGVA, and on Finger Lakes Country, 96.1/96.9/101.9/1570 WFLR.