OSWEGO, NY – Thomas W. Gillen says he is still the same guy he always was – except now being the mayor of Oswego and having a lot more responsibility.
Following his inaugural ceremony Sunday afternoon, he said he is excited about leading the Port City back to a place of prominence in Central New York in the coming years.
City historian Dr. Lou Iorizzo said he feels safe in venturing that history will demonstrate that Tom Gillen will lead Oswego through these difficult times.
“Tom is a proven problem solver. He will work effectively with people,” he added. “We are blessed indeed to have a leader of his stature. We are also fortunate to have a very experienced council.”
Collectively, he said, they would sustain Oswego in 2012 and beyond.
The council chamber was crammed full of family, friends and supporters of the new mayor and councilors.
Lead by Fred Crisafulli, city tourism director and harbormaster, Paul Lupa and Daniel Ferns members of the Veterans’ Council, presented the colors.
Father John Hogan, pastor of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, offered the invocation.
Rev. William King, pastor of Elim Grace Christian Church, did the benediction.
Elizabeth Enwright, niece of First Ward Councilor Francis Enwright, sang the National Anthem.
Oswego City Court Judge James Metcalf administered the oath of office to the new mayor and council members.
On the first day of his new job, Gillen wished everyone a happy new year.
“I want to thank you for being here today. I’m honored, I truly am. It’s a great privilege and I promise that I will work every day to serve the people of Oswego to the very best of my ability,” the mayor vowed.
He thanked former Mayor Randy Bateman for his “outstanding leadership,” eliciting a hearty round of applause from the large crowd.
The new mayor also thanked his wife, children and grandchildren for their love and support.
Oswego can become an even greater city, and as mayor, Gillen pledged to stay focused on the strategic priorities that will make the Port City stronger.
He said he’d continue to work to make Oswego safe, family-friendly, environmentally clean and economically thriving for all its businesses.
“The choices that we make today will impact future generations. We also know what makes Oswego so special. It’s the waterfront, our neighborhoods, our history and traditions – but our greatest resource, it has been and always will be, is the people,” he said.
The city will grow if people are willing to think in new ways and embrace new technology, he noted.
“The principles of city government will be to have a reputation of friendly and open. Our city will be financially responsible … provide first-class services,” he said. “Living green and working green will be the core value of our administration.”
He can’t do it alone, he said, adding he needed “the support and cooperation of everyone here and throughout our great city. Participation is what makes our community great.”
“I think he did well,” Roxanna Gillen said of her husband’s first Common Council meeting. “I think he might have been a bit more nervous than either of us realized.”
The new mayor overlooked that his address came before the resolutions of the day on the agenda.
He had banged his gavel, declaring the end of his initial council meeting before realizing the oversight. He quickly rapped the gavel loudly several more times to get everyone’s attention once again.
“At the end, where he had to get the inaugural address in, he had to get a little attention. But, I think otherwise things went really well,” the city’s new first lady said.
“I thought he did very well,” added Council President Ron Kaplewicz. “Tom brings I think a real sense of community and compassion that will benefit all of the city.”
“It’s different sitting up there (in the mayor’s seat),” the councilor continued. “I remember the first time I sat up there as acting mayor. It’s different being up there. You are presiding and there is a certain decorum and protocol that has to be followed. You are saying, ‘OK I am just not sitting at my dining room table, this is an official city meeting!’”
“Nervous? No, not at all,” the new mayor said with a laugh. “Randy was a tremendous help to me. I look forward to working with the council; we have a great bunch of people.”
It’s one thing to talk about the big picture, the strategic way, he said, adding that he has spent the last month and a half looking at a more of a tactical way, “how do we get to where we said we are going to go,” he said.
He has been meeting with department heads and others.
“I am impressed with the caliber that we have. I think once we all get on the same page as to what our vision is, what our principles are and what we want to accomplish, I think we’re going to work together really well,” he said. “I’ve just got a good feeling about this. I think we’re going to do some wonderful things in the next four years.”