AUBURN | The Auburn City Council began its new year by inaugurating two newly-elected city councilors and the mayor — making it the first all-Democratic city council for the first time in more than a decade.
City and county officials as well as community members packed the Memorial City Hall Council chambers for the ceremony.
The inauguration began with the tolling of Old Wheeler and an invocation before the final roll call of the 2015 city council.
Former Councilor John Camardo, a Republican, said he feels he and his colleagues' work on the council has positioned Auburn to move in a positive direction and he is confident it will continue to grow and evolve.
"I am proud of the great strides we made over the last four years, and I hope that the new council will follow through with the upswing that the city of Auburn is experiencing," he said. "It has been a great honor to serve the citizens as an elected official."
Former Councilor Pete Ruzicka, also a Republican, reflected on his last term in office and said he wished to get involved in city government four years ago when he wasn't happy with the direction the city was heading.
"Instead of sitting by and complaining, I got involved," he said.
Ruzicka said he always did his research so he was able to make an intelligent, informed decision and was never afraid to express his opinions.
After Camardo and Ruzicka's exits, the Democratic councilor-elects, led by judges and joined by their spouses and family members, placed their hands on a Bible and took their oaths.
Jimmy Giannettino said as he took his oath of office he was reminded of the similar oath he took 22 years ago after joining the military.
"I speak of a new era, not out of disrespect or criticism to those who have come before us, but instead as a challenge for those who will be occupying the seats behind this railing in the years to come," he said.
And while progress has been made in Auburn, there are still challenges at hand that will face the council in the coming years, including continued economic development and job creation, protecting Owasco Lake, tackling poverty and eradicating the heroin epidemic, Giannettino said.
Giannettino also took the opportunity to honor his late father James N. (Cheech) Giannettino Sr. He said his father very much embodied the Auburn community he knows and loves.
Dia Carabajal thanked the voters for putting their trust into herself and her colleagues, and said she knows they have to continue to inspire trust moving forward.
"We need trust so we can collectively move together toward our common goal," she said.
Mayor Michael Quill, who was re-elected to a third term, spoke on his three biggest priorities for his next term, which include addressing illegal drug use in the community, improving the housing stock in Auburn and job opportunities in the area.