Batavia council picks ex-teacher for 4th Ward alderman vacancy

Former Batavia High School teacher Anthony "Tony" Malay was chosen Tuesday to fill the vacant 4th Ward seat on the Batavia City Council.

Aldermen made the choice after interviewing four candidates, asking them about their backgrounds, their vision for the city, how they would make decisions and how they would deal with residents who disagree with their decisions.

"I'm very impressed and pleased reading the resumes of everybody. We have very highly qualified candidates here," Mayor Jeff Schielke said at the beginning of the interview.

And at the end of the interviews, Alderman Dave Brown said it would be a difficult choice.

"I am going to write down the number '4' for all of you," he joked. "I think you all would do fine."

Aldermen then met in private to individually rank their choices, giving their highest number to the candidate they most liked, and adding the scores to determine the winner.

Malay will be sworn in at the Sept. 17 council meeting.

Malay grew up in Winfield, as the 14th of 15 siblings. He worked in construction, studied political science, spent two years in Ghana with the Peace Corps, then became a teacher. He now is an area official for the Illinois Education Association. He has lived in Batavia for 14 years.

The other applicants were Joe Knopp, who has lived in Batavia since 1996; Mary Tiradani, a resident for seven years; and Jerry Lamonte, who moved to town a little more than a year ago.

"I'm really in the relational business," Malay said. "It is about building relationships with people to get stuff done."

Alderman Dan Chanzit asked Malay and the other candidates the same question he was asked when applying for a vacancy: When constituents want one thing but Malay believes something else is best, how would Malay vote?

"The desires of people aren't always in their best interests," Malay said, adding he would vote for what he knows is right.

As for dealing with disagreements, Malay noted there are differences of opinions in his large family, including with a brother who is a Republican township assessor, but they all respect each other.

"This (the council) is about the size of your family, so get ready for every week to be Thanksgiving (dinner)," Alderman Marty Callahan joked.

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