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Mayor, Council Sworn In During Special Meeting

George Pradel was sworn in for his fifth term as Naperville's mayor. While the Council swears in three of four members.

It’s official; Naperville has a new city council.

George Pradel was sworn in for the fifth time as the city’s mayor. Grant Wehrli, Steve Chirico and Joe McElroy all took the oath for Naperville’s city council members.

Wherli is serving his second term. Chirico and McElroy were sworn into their first term. The three councilmen took their oath on Wehrli’s great-grandfather’s bible from 1886.

Councilmen Bob Fieseler, who was re-elected, was unable to attend the special meeting because he was visiting a sick family member. Fieseler will be sworn in for his second term before Tuesday’s council meeting.

Bill Young, 67, of Naperville said he was happy to attend the inauguration ceremony. Young worked on Pradel’s re-election campaign. He also said his four votes for city council in the April election went to those who won.

Young was especially proud of Chirico’s victory. As a wrestling coach at Naperville Central, Young coached Chirico to third-place in state. Young joked about watching Chirico finally win.

“If he had a better coach [in high school] he would have won,” Young said. “Oh, yeah, I’m absolutely happy he won city council.”

Chirico thanked his family and supporters for their help. Chirico was direct with the audience. He told the crowd that even his supporters will not agree with every decision he make as a city councilor.

“I will be thoughtful and I will deliberate and do the best that I can,” Chirico said.

Kristina Taheri, 40, of Naperville was a member of the audience. She, along with her parents, came to support McElroy. Taheri said three generations of her family worked on McElroy’s campaign.

Taheri said the inauguration ceremony gave her a feeling of pride. She believes McElroy’s victory gives the city a councilman with not only the civic background, but the formal education to be an effective leader.

“This was a joyous day,” Taheri said. “It was uplifting, short and nice.”

But as the council a gained new members, Chirico and McElroy, it said one last goodbye to former councilmen Jim Boyajian and Dick Furstenau. Boyajian did not run for reelection. Instead, he elected to retire from the council after eight years of service.

“I think I used all the wisdom I have in eight years,” Boyajian joked. “There isn’t a drop left.”

leaves the council after failing to earn a fourth term. With 12 years of experience, Furstenau left his position by recalling what he believes are the council’s top 25 achievements during his tenure. The list included a number of commercial developments, city infrastructure improvements and contracts negotiations.

For Furstenau, the council’s number one achievement over the past decade was its response to economic climate of the past three years. While Furstenau will no longer be sitting on the council, he told the crowd that he will not be a stranger.

“I’m not going very far,” Furstenau said. “You may see me in the future again soon.”

As the day come to a close Pradel asked for a motion to adjourn. Wehrli supplied the motion, while McElroy and Chirico were quick to take their first action as councilmen, seconding the motion.

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