A new alderman was appointed to the board, too, and will be sworn in later this month.
Truesdale has a new mayor roughly a month after outgoing Mayor Chris Watson announced his resignation at the May 24 meeting.
Aldermen appointed President of the Board Jerry Cannon to the position at the conclusion of the normal June 28 meeting. He was sworn in by City Clerk Elsa Smith-Fernandez at a special meeting that occurred immediately after the normal meeting was adjourned.
After the swearing in, Mayor Cannon nominated Justin Naranjo to fill the vacant seat on the board of aldermen.
Aldermen approved the nomination 3-0. Naranjo was not present at the meeting “due to another commitment,” but Cannon said the new alderman would be present at the next meeting of the board on July 12.
Both Cannon and Naranjo will fill their roles until the April 2024 election.
Watson, who ran the normal meeting, opened with comments thanking the city of Truesdale for the opportunity to be mayor.
“I just wanted to say that it’s been an absolute pleasure working next to all you guys for the last seven-and-a-half, eight years,” he said. “It’s been an absolute pleasure for me and my family to be a part of this community, and I thank everybody for being part of it and helping make this community grow to a better place.”
After leading a normal meeting that included accepting the proposed budget for the next year and reappointing the city clerk, city treasurer, city attorney, and police chief, and the first and second readings of nine bills, the time came for the board to accept Watson’s resignation.
It was clear no one on the board wanted to see Watson leave.
After Alderman Mike Thomas made the motion and Cannon made the second, City Clerk Elsa Smith-Fernandez did not immediately begin the roll call vote, being urged on by Watson to “come on!” Each alderman also paused a few moments after their name was called before voting yes on the motion.
The humorous moment ended with Watson’s resignation being accepted 4-0.
Thomas then nominated Cannon to fill the empty mayoral position. That motion passed 3-0 with Cannon abstaining.
“Thank you guys very much, Watson said as he vacated the mayor’s chair and stepped out into the audience. “I appreciate it.”
He then took his seat among the few members of the assembled public that attended the meeting and loudly said “all right, about these roads!”
“The meeting has not been opened yet, sir,” Alderwoman Kari Hartley said in another humorous post-resignation moment.
Prior to the June 28 meetings, Cannon outlined some of what he hoped to do if he became Watson’s replacement.
He emphasized he wanted to “continue on with some of the things that we have going now because a lot of things are in the works,” he said.
One of those ideas was to continue to develop a sewer system separate from Warrenton.
“Us being independent would be great if we can afford it,” Cannon said.
He also said he “would love” to see retail and a convenience store in town.
“I’ve lived in Truesdale all my life and when I was growing up here, there were three stores in town,” he said. “And there were opportunities. I mean, if you were at the bus stop for instance, you could get a candy or a snack or something like that before the bus even came.
“And especially since Kroger left, it left a void in Truesdale because yes, people can drive to Walmart or to Schnucks or wherever. There’s a lot of people who don’t drive or they’re older and they used to go to Kroger and walk and get things,” Cannon said.
He also wanted to see a restaurant come to town.
Now former-Mayor Watson said he was “confident” that Cannon would make a strong replacement.
“Jerry is very hands-on and very community involved with all the residents and everything,” Watson said. “He’s a lifetime resident here in Truesdale. And he is definitely somebody that would fight for or stand up for any type of injustice that we might have.”
And that’s something Cannon said he will continue now that he’s taken on the role of mayor and shed the role of alderman.
“We’re willing to work really hard to make sure Truesdale is well represented,” he said. “And I think that’s the whole key, we are servants of the people at Truesdale. We have to be their voice, you know, and they’ve entrusted us to do that. We need to look out for their best interests.”
About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at firstname.lastname@example.org