Prejna sworn in as Rolling Meadows mayor

New mayor of Rolling Meadows takes the wheel

 
 
Updated 5/10/2017 5:24 AM
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  • Len Prejna, right, is sworn in Tuesday night as Rolling Meadows mayor by Ward 7 Alderman Tim Veenbaas, who had been serving as acting mayor.

      Len Prejna, right, is sworn in Tuesday night as Rolling Meadows mayor by Ward 7 Alderman Tim Veenbaas, who had been serving as acting mayor. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

  • New Rolling Meadows Mayor Len Prejna, left, greets residents Tuesday night after being sworn in for a 2-year term.

      New Rolling Meadows Mayor Len Prejna, left, greets residents Tuesday night after being sworn in for a 2-year term. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

Family, friends and supporters filled Rolling Meadows' council chambers Tuesday night as Len Prejna was sworn in as the city's 12th mayor.

Prejna, who campaigned on a pledge to increase economic development efforts, will serve the remainder of Tom Rooney's term. Rooney stepped down as mayor in November after being appointed to the 27th District state Senate seat. The mayor's seat will be up for election for a full 4-year term in 2019.

Ward 7 Alderman Tim Veenbaas, who had been serving as acting mayor since Rooney resigned, administered the oath of office to Prejna Tuesday night, then handed him the microphone.

"It's heavier than I thought," Prejna joked.

"Wait till you're up there," quipped Veenbaas, referring to the council dais.

Prejna, 66, has said among his top priorities is marketing the Kirchoff Road corridor, including the vacant former Dominick's site, as a "destination location" for stores and restaurants. He also favors replacing Fire Station 15 with a new station to the south, but not replacing Fire Station 16 with a new station to the east. The seven-member city council can continue or halt the fire department's current plan to replace both stations, but Prejna holds veto power.

Prejna, who had been the Ward 2 alderman since 2013, handily defeated Ward 1 Alderman Mike Cannon and Zoning Board Chairman Dave Whitney in a three-way race for mayor last month. Rooney endorsed Prejna.

Prejna, a 33-year resident of Rolling Meadows, works in educational support at Rolling Meadows High School. His involvement in the city has included time as president of Rolling Meadows Crime Stoppers, chairman of the Rolling Meadows Community Events Foundation, and 12 years on the board of fire and police commissioners.

Also sworn in Tuesday night were new Ward 2 Alderman Jerry Hill, who ran unopposed for the seat vacated by Prejna; new Ward 4 Alderman Joe Gallo, who defeated eight-year incumbent Brad Judd; and longtime Ward 6 Alderman John D'Astice, who defeated challenger Tom Trapani.

D'Astice, now entering his third term, also served as alderman from 1993 to 2005 until stepping down because of a city rule limiting aldermen to no more than three consecutive terms.

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