GENEVA — Mayor Ron Alcock and six departing City Council members said goodbye Wednesday evening, paving the way for a new mayor and seven new council members come Jan. 1.
Alcock and councilors Paul D’Amico, Jason Hagerman, Angelina Marino, Gordy Eddington, Mark Gramling and newcomer Dana Hollenbeck took part in their final regular City Council session. All decided against seeking new terms.
Councilor Steve Valentino will return as mayor in 2020, joining Ward 4 Councilor Ken Camera, who was re-elected in November to another four-year term. Valentino and Camera are the only two members of the next Council who have governing experience.
Alcock, who served two four-year terms as mayor, and prior to that, a four-year term as a councilor, has always kept his remarks brief. Wednesday night was no exception.
“I’d like to congratulate all the new council members,” Alcock said. “I know you will work hard to continue the progress that Geneva has made in the last four years.”
Alcock, a Republican, said it’s “been an honor and a rewarding experience to serve as your mayor the last eight years.”
He credited the support of city administration for making the job easier.
“I had a great city manager we all took under our wing a few years back,” he said, referring to Matt Horn, who stepped down in January 2018 after nearly 10 years on the job.
Horn, who now works for MRB Group, an engineering firm, was in the audience for the current Council’s last regular meeting of 2019.
Alcock said the departure of Horn has led into a “transition of another great team,” led by new City Manager Sage Gerling.
The mayor also thanked his wife, JoEllen, for her support, noting the many meetings — “usually with little notice, as I tend to forget to tell her.” He said serving as mayor meant “quite a few late dinners and missed family events.”
He said he is proud of what this Council and the previous ones he was a part of accomplished.
“We worked hard to make Geneva what it is today: A great place to live, work and play,” Alcock said. “I go away knowing we planted the seeds to make Geneva even better.”
Certificates of appreciation were given to Alcock and each departing council member by Mayor-elect Valentino.
Additionally, Alcock presented a certificate to Ward 2 Councilor D’Amico, who didn’t miss a regular City Council meeting in his 13-year tenure.
D’Amico, a Republican, thanked his family for its support and also praised his “10 years with Matt Horn. … A lot of good things happened (with him as city manager). He was a monster in getting us where we are.”
Concluded D’Amico: “I enjoyed everything.”
Eddington, an at-large member who served one term, said, “It’s been a pleasure serving with you all. I’ll miss you.”
Camera urged Hollenbeck — earlier this year she was appointed interim Ward 6 councilor — to consider staying involved in city matters. She said she appreciated the support fellow council members provided in her interim capacity.
“It’s been great serving with everybody here,” said Ward 5 Democrat Hagerman, who opted against re-election after 12 years on Council.
Marino said it’s “been very humbling to serve Ward 1” and that she learned from each member of Council.
Gramling expressed gratitude as well.
“I want to thank everybody for the things you have contributed,” said Gramling, who noted it was Horn who urged him to run. “This has been a journey these last four years. ... It was a great, great ride. I really loved serving.”
Valentino, who will be sworn in as mayor at the Public Safety Building at 1 p.m. Jan. 1, expressed his appreciation to Alcock and departing council members.
“The dedication you’ve shown has been huge,” he said. “We’ve stuck together and moved things forward.”