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New members of Riverside Village Board sworn into office

Former Village President Michael Gorman (left) receives a resolution commemorating 
his service to the village from Ben Sells, Riverside's new president.
Former Village President Michael Gorman (left) receives a resolution commemorating his service to the village from Ben Sells, Riverside's new president.

Riverside saw a changing of the guard Monday night as new members of the Village Board were sworn in.

Trustee Ben Sells took the oath of office as Riverside's incoming village president. He succeeds Michael Gorman, who served as village president since 2009. Sells won the position during the April 9 consolidated election in an uncontested race.

"Mike, it's been an honor to serve with you these last four years," Sells told Gorman after the swearing-in ceremony. "You have been tireless in your advocacy for our village."

Patricia Collins and Doug Pollock were sworn in as trustees during Monday's meeting. Ellen Hamilton also won a seat on the board but was unable to attend the meeting; she will be sworn in at a later date. The new board members succeeded Trustees James Reynolds, Lonnie Sacchi and Mark Shevitz, whose terms had expired.

Moving from trustee to village president, Sells had to name someone to fill his unexpired term. The Village Board approved the appointment of Michael Foley to the vacant trustee's position; his term will expire in 2015.

Gorman started his service with the village as a member of the Long Term Financial Security Plan Committee. He ran for village president in 2009 on the Riverside Community Alliance slate with Reynolds, Sacchi and Shevitz.

"I didn't know quite how that would feel. But there is some weight off the shoulders. I appreciate those words, Ben," Gorman said. "But I'm going to say a few things. I'm not going to let you get out of here all that quickly. The other three trustees were very brief, so let me make up for that. But I'll keep it brief.

"First, I want to recognize the people who have been important to me over the past four years. First of all, my family. My wife, Linda, who is here with me, has been my constant support and encouragement. I think you've all seen her at my side at very many of our meetings and many community events. She's been by my side throughout metropolitan Chicago as a I've represented the village."

Gorman also thanked his adult children, his friends and neighbors, members of the village staff, his three running mates from 2009, and the many people who donate their time to help run Riverside's commissions, committees and events.

"Now, however, now is not the time to look back, is it? It's time to look forward. So I'm not going to give you a list of accomplishments, which is … often done at these occasions," Gorman said. "What's happened over the last four years will stand the test of time and will stand as a testament to the Village Board. So I'm going to look forward. For the Village Board, fiscal responsibility: Pressures on the village's … financial resources will continue into the future. To protect the financial health of our village, our Village Board must continue to measure every decision that relies on our tax dollars against the backdrop of fiscal responsibility. Riverside is on a positive course as a result of this policy of fiscal responsibility practiced by the Village Board over the past four years. Be involved and proactive on behalf of all of us; you owe us nothing less."

Gorman urged residents to implement the Central Business District plan adopted by the Village Board on April 15. He said it's important to take advantage of the two-year commitment that the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has made to helping the village carry forth the ideas in the plan.

"And for all of us who love Riverside, embrace Riverside's national historic landmark status," Gorman said. "Riverside is a singular, unique community. It is a treasure to be protected and promoted. People from throughout the United States and around the globe seek out our village to study the lessons of Frederick Olmsted and walk through his living laboratory. Riverside's rich history is a touchstone for our village. The Village Board must continue to balance the necessity to preserve what they need to promote.

"So, with that being said, I will graciously pass the key to the village office, which I received from former President [Harold] Wiaduck, who I thank you for being here today," Gorman said as pulled a key from his pocket and handed it to Sells. "I will graciously pass the key to the village office to President Sells, and I will wish him and the entire Village Board good fortune and success."

Resolutions were read to commemorate the work of each retiring Village Board member, and they were each given a framed map of Riverside. But Sacchi noticed that the map he received was not as large as the others handed out.

"I get the small map because I missed too many board meetings. So my wife told me I was just going to get the small one," Sacchi quipped, eliciting laughter from audience members. "I graciously accept it anyway."

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