Batavia swears in new alderman

Barraza appointed to 7th Ward council seat

Robin Barraza takes the oath of office for Batavia 7th Ward Alderman from Mayor Jeff Schielke at the Dec. 4 Batavia City Council meeting. (Photo for Shaw Media by Mark Foster)

BATAVIA – Robin Barraza sought election to a 7th Ward aldermanic seat on the Batavia City Council in spring 2021 balloting, but came up short.

Mayor Jeff Schielke then tapped Barraza for an appointment to the Batavia Historic Preservation Commission.

“I have really enjoyed serving on the commission. It’s kept me connected,” Barraza said.

When 7th Ward alderman Keenan Miller resigned from the council recently, Barraza’s connection and interest in city government prompted her to apply for the vacancy.

Aldermen liked what they saw and selected Barraza from a field of four applicants.

Schielke administered the oath of office to Barraza at the Dec. 4 Batavia City Council meeting.

Barraza joins a 14-member council that includes 7th Ward Alderman Sarah Vogelsinger, her opponent in the 2021 election.

Robin Barraza is Batavia's new 7th Ward alderman. December 2023 photo. (Photo for Shaw Media by Mark Foster)

The city’s seven wards are each represented by two aldermen and terms of office are staggered so that half the council is up for election every two years.

Miller was reelected last spring, so Barraza’s appointment will last until the spring 2025 election. Vogelsinger’s four-year term also expires at that time.

That means 7th Ward voters will elect two aldermen in the 2025 election, one to a four-year term and the other for two years to fill out Miller’s unexpired term of office.

The 7th Ward covers the far west side of the city, including all incorporated areas west of Randall Road, as well as a large area generally west of Millview Drive and south of McKee Street.

Barraza is the owner of an insurance agency in Wheaton.

The other applicants for the aldermanic vacancy were Kirk Kilker, Karie Badgley and Robert Kieckhefer.

Schielke appointed Kieckhefer to fill a vacancy on the Batavia Plan Commission and the selection was confirmed by the council at the Dec. 4 meeting.

While the mayor could have made the aldermanic appointment on his own and simply sought confirmation by the council, Schielke has long used a system in which the appointee is selected by a majority vote of the aldermen.

Applicants are interviewed in open session by the aldermen, who then vote in secret before the mayor announces the decision.