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Article updated: 6/18/2013 8:45 AM

St. Charles gets new alderman, fire chief

By James Fuller

Coming into Monday night's St. Charles City Council meeting, the only mystery would be what new Third Ward Alderman Todd Bancroft would say after being sworn into office. He proved to be a man of few words, but he was seated on a night when he'd get to vote on another big change in St. Charles.

Bancroft was selected from a pool of 13 candidates who applied for the open Third Ward seat. The vacancy was created when Ray Rogina was elected mayor. Bancroft was unanimously approved by the city council Monday night having already given the thumbs-up for his appointment in a closed-door meeting.

"What an honor it is," Bancroft said. "I'm very excited. Thank you, all."

As one of his first votes after being sworn in, Bancroft voted in a new fire chief for the city. Longtime Deputy Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet has served as interim chief for several months following the retirement of former Chief Patrick Mullen. Schelstreet is also a longtime resident of the Third and Fourth Wards of the city. As a fixture of the community, he received a nearly 30-second standing ovation upon being sworn in.

"I'd like to thank you for your confidence in me to lead this distinguished fire department," Schelstreet said. "I see professionals from both the city and the fire department who are willing to do whatever is necessary to see both succeed. We have already achieved much. We will achieve more."

Schelstreet is the sixth paid fire chief in the history of the city. Rogina welcomed both Bancroft and Schelstreet to their new roles, but they both are familiar faces to him. Bancroft and Schelstreet are Rogina's former students.

"I've had the privilege of watching numerous students over the years grow, get married, go back to the community and serve the community," Rogina said. "Now, as mayor, it is really a special opportunity to me to see two former students stepping forward to serve their community."

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