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Vernola Named New Mayor of Norwalk As City Council Reorganizes

Newly installed Norwalk Mayor Luigi Vernola shares a special moment with his granddaughter. Randy Economy Photo

Newly installed Norwalk Mayor Luigi Vernola shares a special moment with his granddaughter. Randy Economy Photo


By Brian Hews

With the March 5 Norwalk City Council campaign now behind them, the Norwalk City Council on Tuesday night celebrated the reelection of incumbent councilmembers Mike Mendez and Cheri Kelley and also selected veteran councilman Luigi Vernola as its new mayor.

Hundreds of community members gathered at Norwalk City Hall to witness the festivities that were filled with emotions, laughs and an eight piece jazz band that played outside the chambers for an after party.

Both Mendez and Kelley took their respected “oaths of offices” from City Clerk Teresa DeVoy during the meeting with respected members of their families holding family bibles.

Kelley talked openly about her tough reelection campaign and about both the frustrations and accomplishments the “community went through, together these past 12 months.”

Kelley said that she learned “who you can trust in this city, and who you cannot,” during her prepared comments before handing the gavel over to Vernola.

Mendez was more upbeat in his remarks after he received the top vote in the recent election. “We need to move forward and work together during the next four years,” Mendez said.

As the outgoing Mayor, Kelley was presented with an elegant Waterford crystal clock by her fellow city councilmembers as well as a crystal bowl and a commemorative plaque that had a gavel.

A representative from State Senator Ron Calderon presented a donation to the cities food bank in “honor of Mayor Kelley and her dedication to those in need in Norwalk.”

Representatives from area elected officials also presented Kelley with certificates of commendations including Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, Assemblyman Ian Calderon, and Assembly Member Cristina Garcia.

Little Lake City School District members presented the Norwalk Public Library two books, one written by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor and President Barack Obama on behalf of the outgoing mayor.

Councilman Marcel Rodarte, who was also selected to serve as the new Vice Mayor under Vernola personally, thanked all of the candidates who ran in the March 5th election stressing the importance of having the “people’s voices being heard.”

“Running for office is not an easy task,” Rodarte said as his young daughter Ellie sat on his lap throughout the meeting.

Mendez also thanked his 91 year old mother Sara Mendez who he said was watching at home.  “My mom isn’t able to be here tonight, but I want to give her a shout out,” the veteran city councilman said.

Mendez also congratulated his supporters referring them as “Team Mendez.”

Vernola then reminded residents that “Our forefathers fought and died for our freedoms. Freedom is not free.”

Vernola thanked his wife Joan, as well as his daughters Christina and Lisa and son Thomas as well as several of his grandchildren.

“We have had a couple of good years here (on this city council).  I am a team player.  I want people to know that.  The city council sets the goals.  We implement what the staff brings us.  We have to work together to make this a safe city.  We need to keep working with our law enforcement to make our city safe and to keep our children safe,” Vernola said.

Vernola also joked that he wanted to “thank the senior citizens, now that I am one.”

Vernola also talked about the importance of history and personal heroes he has in his life.

“We still see heroes, each and every day.  I learned about the Civil War and Abe Lincoln and George Washington who gave their lives for us to be free today,” Vernola said.

He also thanked the ‘greatest hero of them all, God all Mighty.”

  • Victor says:

    Mayor + Contrator = Conflict of Interest