'Four new personalities' to join Aurora council
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More than half the members of the Aurora City Council will be sworn in Tuesday — some for the first time and others reinstated — as the council transitions to new leadership.
Aldermen elected in wards 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 and one at-large seat will be sworn in during a special city council meeting following the regularly scheduled committee of the whole at 5 p.m. at city hall, 44 E. Downer Place.
New faces include Ted Mesiacos, who will be sworn in to fill the Ward 3 seat Stephanie Kifowit resigned last fall after winning election to the state House in the 84th District; Bill Donnell, who will succeed Rick Lawrence in representing Ward 4; Edward Bugg, who beat several competitors to win the Ward 9 seat formerly held by Al Lewandowski; and Lynne Johnson, who will represent Ward 10 after Lynda Elmore steps down to move out of state.
Returning aldermen to be sworn in again Tuesday include Juany Garza in Ward 2, Scheketa Hart-Burns in Ward 7 and Alderman-at-Large Bob O'Connor, who is returning again after 28 years on the council.
"It's going to be a big change for the city council," Bugg said. "Four new personalities, four different personalities — it's not only a change for us, it's a change for the sitting aldermen also."
For the newcomers, Tuesday's meeting represents a chance to step into the role they pursued for months during the campaign and begin implementing ideas to improve their sections of the community.
Preparing to step into the role has meant meetings, lots and lots of meetings.
Bugg said he met three times with Alderman Rick Mervine because the two far east side wards will be swapping some territory to adjust to the map drawn after the 2010 census. He also has been meeting with the streets department and others to plan a ward cleanup for June 1 along the Ward 9 business corridor on south Eola Road.
Johnson said her schedule since being elected has been full of meetings with her predecessor Elmore, appointments with developers planning to build apartments in her ward and discussions with Fox Valley Park District officials about the possibility of building a new park in the Madison Park townhouse subdivision.
Donnell said he attended his last planning commission meeting, a bittersweet event as he stepped down after 26 years on the panel, including 10 as chairman. Mesiacos also stepped down from the planning commission after its April meeting as he prepares to join the council representing east side Ward 3.
Donnell is taking over leadership of the west side Ward 4, which for the past eight years has been represented by Alderman Rick Lawrence, a frequent critic of Mayor Tom Weisner who often questions city spending and development projects.
"Talking to the folks in the ward, I understand Rick was very responsive to their needs," Donnell said. "I hope to do the same — to be responsive to the folks in the ward. I'm not Rick, but I hope to represent my ward well ... I'm obviously a different guy with a different approach."
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