One month after a contentious election, three new trustees joined the Island Lake village board on Thursday night.
Shannon Fox, Thea Morris and Charles Cermak were sworn in by Mayor Debbie Herrmann before a large crowd at village hall. They replaced Don Verciglio, Don Saville and John Ponio, none of whom ran for re-election in April.
The swearing-in ceremony was staged at the end of the meeting, allowing the outgoing trustees to handle some final business and have some final arguments before they left the dais.
Shortly before the newcomers took their oaths, Saville and Verciglio had one last exchange of unpleasant words. Herrmann also thanked the outgoing trustees "for making it a memorable experience for me."
Saville had similar words for the mayor before taking a seat in the audience.
The oaths went well, aside from a few missed words. After the audience applauded for each new trustee, the newcomers took seats on the dais and the meeting continued.
The trio joins the board at a time when the village government has been consumed by political distrust and rancor. Saville, Ponio and sitting trustees Laurie Rabattini and Donna O'Malley have been feuding with the mayor and her allies on the board -- Verciglio and Connie Mascillino -- and trying to restrict Herrmann's executive powers. The moves, which have been going on for a few months, have resulted in mayoral vetoes and a lawsuit by Herrmann against the foursome.
Fox and Morris ran on a slate that was largely critical of Herrmann, while Cermak was part of a campaign group that was endorsed by the mayor.
But the new trustees have been talking about unity since the election. In fact, they teamed up to host a community party and food drive at a local bar later Thursday night.
"I think it's important to thank the community for electing us and to show we're starting fresh," Morris said before the meeting. "We're moving forward with the intention to create a team atmosphere."