New era in St. Charles with Vitek, four new aldermen sworn in
A new era began Monday night in St. Charles with the swearing in of Mayor Lora Vitek, four new aldermen, a new city clerk and a new treasurer.
The first city council meeting for the group featured the approval of Finance Director Chris Minick as the interim city administrator to replace retiring Mark Koenen, who provided one of the many emotional farewell speeches of the night. Minick's appointment becomes effective May 15.
Vitek, who served one term as Ward 4 alderman, becomes the second female mayor in St. Charles history after Sue Klinkhamer served from 1997 to 2005.
"I'm honored to be elected as the mayor of St. Charles for many reasons," she said. "As only the second female mayor of the city, I'm hoping I can set a good example for other women to develop confidence, drive and fearlessness to take a risk when it comes to seeking political, community or other leadership positions. I support you and welcome you to explore opportunities available throughout our city.
"I'm looking forward to the next four years working in partnership with the city council to continue to make St. Charles an amazing place for everyone, our residents and our businesses," she said.
Before the swearing in of Vitek, Ward 2 Alderman Ryan Bongard, Ward 3 Alderman Paul Lencioni, Ward 4 Alderman Bryan Wirball and Ward 5 Alderman Steve Weber, the city council paid tribute to departing aldermen Art Lemke, Lucy Gruber and Maureen Lewis, who was defeated by Vitek in the mayoral election.
Then it was time for retiring Mayor Ray Rogina to deliver his final comments to the city he led for the last eight years. In addition to praising the work of the city staff and encouraging the city council to work together, he saved his warmest remarks for his wife, Diane, and the city itself.
"This is our city: St. Charles, Illinois," Rogina said. "Protect it. Embrace it. Support it. Give it room to breathe. Be proud of it. It is always in my heart."
The city council unanimously approved Vitek's appointment of John Harrill as treasurer to replace Jo Krieger, and approved Nancy Garrison as clerk to replace Chuck Amenta, who lost to Lencioni in the aldermanic election. Ward 3 Alderman Todd Bancroft was elected Mayor Pro Tem by his colleagues.
Committee chairs and liaisons, board commissioners, department directors and other city positions also were approved.