In 1971, James Williams was elected as the city's first black mayor. Faced with the overwhelming economic problems, he was unable to make much of a difference. In 1979, when Carl Officer was elected as mayor (the youngest in the country at that time at age 25), many said the city had nowhere to go but up, yet things grew worse. Middle-class citizens continued to leave the city. People who could get jobs simply left for places with work and a decent quality of life. Lacking sufficient tax revenues, the city cut back on maintenance, sewers failed and garbage pickup ceased. Police cars and radios stopped working. The East St. Louis Fire Department went on strike in the 1970s.