New era begins at City Hall

Wescott swears in, praises predecessor

Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
City of Rock Falls deputy clerk Michelle Conklin, swears in Mayor Bill Wescott at Tuesday evening's City Council meeting. Wescott is holding a photo of his father, William Wescott, who died in 1972, just days after retiring from 20 years as a Rock Falls firefighter. "It's so important for me to have him here tonight," Wescott said.
Caption
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Former Mayor David Blanton shakes hands with City Attorney James Reese after handing the reins to Wescott Tuesday evening. "I leave this office with pride and will never forget the things we have accomplished and all that we have done in this administration," Blanton said. "I will be proud of our past and confident in our future."

ROCK FALLS – Swearing in as Rock Falls' new mayor Tuesday, Bill Wescott clung to a framed photo of a man in a uniform.

It was of his father, William Wescott, who died in 1972, days after retiring from a two-decade career as a Rock Falls firefighter.

"It's so important for me to have him here tonight," Wescott told the crowd.

Wescott took the oath of office nearly a month after he beat incumbent David Blanton with 75 percent of the vote.

Tuesday's City Council meeting began with Blanton presiding. The council took some action on routine matters.

Blanton ended his portion of the meeting with a speech, thanking city officials for their contributions to the community. He mentioned some of the city's accomplishments during his 8-year reign, including riverfront development and a new wastewater treatment plant.

"I leave this office with pride and will never forget the things we have accomplished and all that we have done in this administration," he said. "I will be proud of our past and confident in our future."

The audience applauded, and the outgoing mayor shook hands with each council member and Wescott, city clerk for the past 10 years.

Wescott then took the oath of office as mayor, followed by Eric Arduini as city clerk. Treasurer Suzanne Dir and council members Mark Vandersnick, Brian Snow, Jim Schuneman and John Watts, all of whom ran unopposed, also swore in.

With Wescott presiding, the council addressed some other items of business. It unanimously voted to demolish a house at 1015 Ninth Ave., which Wescott said was a longtime city goal.

"We'll get this property cleaned up for the other residents," he said.

Near the end of the meeting, Wescott praised his predecessor.

"I want to recognize David Blanton for his service to the city of Rock Falls, and his service goes back a long time as alderman, mayor pro tem," Wescott said. "He was always striving to work for the betterment of residents."

The new mayor asked the crowd to give Blanton another round of applause.

The former mayor got a standing ovation.

Blanton mouthed "thank you."

Wescott also paid homage to tradition when it came to ending the meeting. Lee Folsom, at least since 2004, has had the honor of moving for adjournment. He did again Tuesday.

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