New mayor takes office with high expectations

Rockford’s new Independent Mayor Larry Morrissey was sworn into office April 25 with much fanfare and many supporters. Morrissey urged public officials and residents to pull together to achieve his priorities of improvements in schools, public safety and infrastructure.

“We must all work together if we intend to move this community forward,” Morrissey said, with his family members, friends and supporters watching from the audience. “Every resident is part of this team.”

Aldermen from both the Democratic and Republican parties expressed willingness to work with the Independent Morrissey to achieve his goals.

However, Morrissey acknowledged there will be disagreements between himself and council members. But he was confident if aldermen adopted residents’ high standards, “we will do great things.”

Morrissey also announced he planned to use his first full day in office by traveling to Washington, D.C., with a contingent of elected officials, business operators and community leaders to lobby for federal funding for passenger rail service to the area.

“Rails, roads and river” was Morrissey’s mantra for infrastructure improvements during the campaign. Morrissey plans on constructing a downtown river walk, improving roads and bringing commuter rail service to the region.

Last week, Morrissey promised there would be “no lapse in services” during the transition from former Mayor Doug Scott to Morrissey’s administration. Morrissey said he already met police and fire officials and department heads.

He said at a press conference April 15 that a “full review” of department heads should be completed within 30 days of taking office.

Scott wished Morrissey “the best of luck,” and said he “enjoyed every single day as mayor.” Scott served from 2001 until April 25. He has reportedly been offered a job in fellow Democrat Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration.

Scott said he was proud of the progress the city made in furthering projects such as building a high-speed, fiber-optic communications network, return of passenger air service to the Greater Rockford Airport and condominium development on North Main Street.

However, in what appeared to be an attribution for his landslide loss to Morrissey on April 5, Scott said the past four years “were not easy [economic] times.” Morrissey beat Scott by about 14 percent of the vote—55 percent to Scott’s 41 percent.

But Morrissey said he was disappointed by a lower voter turnout than the 2001 mayoral election. Only 38 percent of Rockford voters turned out at the polls April 5, compared with about 44 percent in 2001, the first time Morrissey ran for Mayor.

In addition to Morrissey, three new aldermen were also sworn into office: Joe Sosnowski (D-1), Carl Wasco (D-4), and Ann Thompson (D-7).

They replaced outgoing aldermen Dave Johnson, Robert Greene and Angie Goral.

From the April 27-May 3, 2005, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!