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updated: 4/6/2011 2:46 AM

Rooney ready to take over in Rolling Meadows

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  • Mayor-Elect Tom Rooney thanks supporters tonight at his election night gathering at the Rolling Meadows Senior Center.

       Mayor-Elect Tom Rooney thanks supporters tonight at his election night gathering at the Rolling Meadows Senior Center.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Current Mayor Ken Nelson, left, and Mayor-Elect Tom Rooney watch election returns at the Rolling Meadows Senior Center Tuesday.

       Current Mayor Ken Nelson, left, and Mayor-Elect Tom Rooney watch election returns at the Rolling Meadows Senior Center Tuesday.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Tom Rooney

      Tom Rooney

  • Robert Banger

      Robert Banger

  • Jim Larsen

      Jim Larsen

 
 

Tom Rooney said one of his first items of business after taking over as mayor of Rolling Meadows in May is to make changes in how city council meetings are run.

Rooney, 42, the former alderman who won the mayor's seat handily Tuesday, said his goal will be to make the meetings, "more efficient, more productive, and a whole lot easier for regular folks to watch."

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Rooney also pledged to put a stop to the veiled personal attacks that have gone on in meetings.

His second goal is to begin preparing for contract negotiations this fall with the city's police and fire unions. Rooney believes the city must hold the line in police and fire negotiations without alienating the work force.

With all 19 precincts reporting, Rooney scored a landslide victory with 2,130 votes to Jonathan Trapani's 571 votes, unofficial totals show.

"This is pretty much done," said Rooney, claiming victory early Tuesday night.

Rooney said unlike other mayoral campaigns, both candidates behaved "gentlemanly."

"Jon and I have been talking to each other throughout the process," Rooney said. "There's none of the animosity that sometimes goes on in campaigns.

"We didn't know each other before this election except for the fact that he taught my kids swim lessons," he added. "We've become friendly through the campaign and I don't think in many elections that happens."

Meanwhile, in the three contested races for city council, 7th Ward Alderman Jim Larsen easily won re-election over former alderman Rudy Balek and challenger Jim Suchecki. Larsen had 163 votes to Suchecki's 109 and Balek's 30.

Larsen has said he hopes to increase tax revenues from sources other than residents.

• In the 5th Ward, where incumbent Glenn Adams did not run for re-election, Robert Banger won by 10 votes over Jon Bisesi with both precincts counted. Banger has said he would look to residents for feedback to balance the city budget.

• In the 3rd Ward, with all three precincts counted, Alderman Larry Buske won with 358 votes to former City Manager Rodney Blane's 273 votes.

• In Ward 1, Michael Cannon was elected without opposition.

Rooney's challenge will be leading a city that has suffered serious setbacks in economic development. He and Trapani both said they want to keep the exceptional level of service residents have come to expect without increasing taxes.

He also has said he would strive to end the practice of transferring money from one city fund to another to create the appearance of a balanced budget.

Rooney believes the city should not be an obstacle for businesses, though he recognizes there's little the city can do to attract retailers to sites like the former Dominick's on Kirchoff Road until the economy turns around.

Rooney stepped down from the city council in 2009 -- self-imposing a two-term limit on himself when city ordinance would have permitted him to run for a third.

Possibly the most interesting ward race was that of the 3rd Ward, which had one precinct outstanding until just after midnight.

Buske has served the 3rd Ward for eight years and has volunteered for 25 years in the community. He promised to support the needs of the community, not the "wants" or "wish lists."

Both he and Blane cited the poor economy as the major issue affecting the city.

Buske hopes to build up revenue streams to improve the city's budget, noting that the council has already cut back on "frills" and ordered layoffs without cutting services. Blane said he would look to create efficiencies and evaluate all proposals with cost-benefit analysis.

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