The history-loving Mayor Jeff Schielke, opened Monday's city council meeting with his usual invocation, reminded departing aldermen and those who would take office that "we are only here a few brief years in the history of Batavia."
But that isn't exactly true in the case of 5th Ward Alderman Eldon Frydendall. Monday, the longest-serving Batavia alderman ever wrapped up 32 years of service on the council.
Contact information ( * required )
"I don't have 32 minutes of experience, let alone 32 years," said his replacement, Steve Vasilion, praising Frydendall for his service.
"I think we are going to achieve some very monumental things in the day ahead," Schielke said, after taking the oath of office for the ninth time.
Six new aldermen took office: 2nd Ward Alderman Martin Callahan, 3rd Ward Alderman Kyle Hohmann, 4th Ward Alderman Jamie Saam, Vasilion, 6th Ward Alderman Nick Cerone and 7th Ward Alderman Drew McFadden.
Schielke recalled starting as mayor the same time Frydendall became alderman, in the old city hall that was in a former windmill factory. On their second meeting, "about the second item, a great big rat ran right across the floor. Someone said 'Well, this is a bad sign, the rats are leaving the building.' We said, 'They're probably upset because the good guys have arrived.'"
He also noted Frydendall was assigned to the public utilities committee in his first term and has been on it ever since, through major projects such as improving the city's electrical system, getting radium reduced in the drinking water, and remodeling and expanding the sewage treatment plant.
Frydendall and 4th Ward Alderman Jim Volk urged the new aldermen to not take disputes personally.
"We make our speeches, we take our votes, that settles it. At the end of the meeting, we walk out friends," said Volk, who served for almost 19 years. "Don't form factions or parties. Do what you believe is best for Batavia, and it will all come out right in the end."