Six weeks after his victory in a contentious election, Joe Gallo was finally sworn in Tuesday night as the new mayor of Rolling Meadows.
The city council chambers on the second floor of city hall were filled to the brim to witness the 38-year-old management analyst and Rolling Meadows native take the oath of office from Cook County Judge Ketki Steffen. Gallo then gave the oath to newly elected aldermen in three wards: Kevin O'Brien in Ward 3, Jon Bisesi in Ward 5 and Lara Sanoica in Ward 7.
Gallo, who was Ward 4 alderman for the last two years, will appoint his replacement on the city council.
Before the new aldermen took their oaths, outgoing Mayor Len Prejna, Ward 3 Alderman Laura Majikes, Ward 5 Alderman Rob Banger Jr. and Ward 7 Alderman Rob Williams said their farewells. Each received a personalized city street sign from City Manager Barry Krumstok.
"I appreciate their time here, their investment and energy, their faith toward the city, their goodwill toward the residents," Gallo said of his departing council colleagues, "and more importantly, the residents' goodwill in return.
"I'm looking very forward to the next group of councilmen and women who have come to support the community as the community turned out and supported us in this last election," he told the audience. "It's about your participation that has made all of this possible."
Gallo was the first-place finisher in a four-way race for mayor, followed by Alderman John D'Astice, Planning and Zoning Commission Vice Chairman Dave Whitney and Prejna.
The four candidates offered contrasting leadership styles and varying approaches in how they'd help heal a council fractured over the relocation of the city's two fire stations and the disposition of the downtown Dominick's property. Gallo -- the council's most outspoken on the two issues that have long-dominated local politics -- said during the campaign he was running to change the "antiquated processes and archaic old school lines of thinking" in city government.
After the swearing-in, Gallo took the mayor's seat and gavel at the center of the dais to preside over a meeting of mostly routine business, as aldermen voted to award contracts for pavement patching, paint striping and the purchase of a public works department pickup truck, among other items.
Gallo did pull four items from the agenda, in which the council would formally appoint him as the city's representative to the Joint Action Water Agency, National League of Cities, Northwest Municipal Conference and Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County. Gallo said he wants to have a more in-depth conversation with aldermen, possibly in closed session, about who should be appointed to those positions.