After taking the oath of office Thursday night and being welcomed to sit at the Streator City Council table, Timothy Geary was breathing fast with excitement.
“I’m flabbergasted,” he said, taking his seat. “I feel like I’m on ‘The Price is Right.’ "
Geary was unanimously appointed by the City Council to fill the vacancy left when Joe Scarbeary resigned to accept a full-time position as the city’s building inspector.
In April, Geary, who has served previously on the La Salle County Board, ran for a council seat won by Scarbeary and newcomer Matt McMullen. He finished third in voting among four candidates with 324 votes to Scarbeary’s 550 and McMullen’s 524.
Councilwoman Tara Bedei, serving as the mayor pro tempore for Thursday’s meeting, said the City Council received five candidates and interviewed the top three Thursday in closed session. David Reed, president of the Streatorland Historical Society and Streator library board, and Kelli Bacon, a former Streator Elementary board member, were the other two candidates who interviewed with the council.
Following roughly an hour of deliberation, the council returned to open session, voting in favor of Geary. Bedei said the council liked his positive attitude, noting each candidate brought different qualifications and strong backgrounds, which “made for a difficult decision.”
Geary said seeing the council work well as a cohesive group and the growth of the city’s downtown are what motivated him to submit his resume. He also said he is motivated to attract more manufacturing to the city, saying it is within close proximity to three interstates 39, 80 and 55.
“I’m going to prove my salt,” Geary said, noting he also is going to take some time to learn the ropes from his colleagues.
“ ... If I don’t know an answer to a question, I will be honest and then look for help to answer it. I will not be afraid to ask questions.”
Mayor Jimmie Lansford, who was not in attendance physically Thursday, but participated via telephone conference, said he would like the council to meet as soon as possible to have a planning workshop and talk about its vision.
“We want to build on our successes and continue to grow,” Lansford said.
Along with serving on the county board, Geary, who was 52 during the April election, has worked in the Star Ford service department and he ran for City Council in 2011, coming up short in a then six-person race for three seats.
“I see so many opportunities in this town that reflect the hardworking nature that this town was founded on and want the growth to continue,” Geary said in April on his campaign.