After an eight-year absence, Charles Amrich is once again mayor of Island Lake.
Amrich, the town's elected leader from 1985 to 2005, was sworn in Thursday at village hall, along with four of his political allies.
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"It feels good," Amrich told the Daily Herald moments after taking the oath from McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer in a boardroom filled with supporters. "It feels like it did a long time ago."
New trustees Mark Beeson, Keith Johns and Tony Sciarrone began their own 4-year terms, as did Clerk Teresa Ponio.
All five got standing ovations from the crowd after they were sworn in, one by one.
Amrich defeated incumbent Mayor Debbie Herrmann to win the post last month. After an exceedingly ugly campaign season, Amrich scored an estimated 79 percent of the vote.
Herrmann and her supporters tried to use Amrich's arrest record -- he was found not guilty in 2011 of official misconduct after he was accused of allowing village-owned vehicles to be repaired at the gas station he once owned -- to discredit him as a candidate, but the effort failed. Amrich also survived multiple attempts to remove his name from the ballot.
The new mayor admitted losing faith during the political battle.
"But these people are what kept me going," he said, gesturing to the audience. "They wanted new leadership, and now they have it."
Amrich isn't the only incoming official with ties to village hall.
Sciarrone was a longtime Island Lake police officer and served as chief for a while. Ponio's husband is former Trustee John Ponio.
After the newcomers took office, the board rehired former Police Chief Don Bero as the town's top cop. He was chief from 2003 to 2005.
Bero replaces Police Chief William McCorkle, who resigned effective Thursday.
The board also hired the firm of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood and McArdle as its legal representatives.
The town's previous law firm -- Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni and Krafthefer -- also resigned effective Thursday.
Contracts for Bero and the law firm haven't been drawn up, Amrich said before the meeting. The board will be asked to ratify the two deals at a later date, he said.