When John Wilkes woke up this morning he flipped a light switch and he could see. Then he stepped in the shower, turned a knob, and water came out.
Thousands of Linton residents did the same and probably didn't give it a second thought. But Wilkes knows all the hard work that goes into making sure those two things happen every morning.
"Overall we have a good workforce," Wilkes, Linton's new mayor, said early Thursday morning before the start of a busy day. "Like I told them (city workers), when I get up in the morning I can't remember the lights not coming on and there was no water to take a shower. They're doing things right."
And that's what Wilkes is striving for every day as well.
Wilkes has always been an early riser as owner of Mercury Cleaners in Linton and Bloomfield. He will continue that tradition, but puts his mayor's hat on at 8 each morning. All he has to do is walk across the parking lot from his Linton business to city hall.
"I'm the guy who's up every morning at 4:30 and always in the (Linton) store by 6, and I still do that now," Wilkes said. "(His employees) are coming in at 7 instead of later, and when we get things going I just walk across the parking lot to city hall."
Wilkes was fortunate to receive some on-the-job training from former mayor Patti Jones. In the final months of her term she included Wilkes on many decisions, allowing him to hit the ground running.
"Everything is going fine," Wilkes said of his first three weeks on the job. "It's faster paced than I thought because there's a lot going on."
Wilkes has made it a point to meet with all department heads to make sure everyone is on the same page.
"I've had all the department heads in for a meeting, including the golf board. (Wednesday) I met with SIDC (Southern Indiana Development Commission), going over the contracts for the wastewater and water treatment deals. I've had meetings with the fire department, and then all the engineers. There are all kinds of engineers running around and I need to talk with them all. Those are the people who get the grants and know where the money is at."
Though Jones helped Wilkes prepare for his new job, there were things he had to experience for himself.
"The day to day, how busy you are," Wilkes said of the No. 1 surprise once he took office.
"I think after a couple of three months some of that will slow down."
Wilkes believes the city has good employees, though "a lot of them are anxious to see what kinds of changes we're going to make.
"We need to tighten our budgets and the way we do business on some things ... like take-home vehicles, things like that. We just need to tighten our belts on the way we do things."
Wilkes knows plenty about tight budgets. As president of the Greene County Council he spent many early September days meeting with county department heads trying to find ways to trim an already slim budget.
"We have a good workforce," Wilkes said of the city. "We just need to tighten up on some things."