A newly sworn-in Long Beach City Council said Wednesday they would bring a new era to the city as they face challenges to recover from a fiscal crisis.
City officials and dignitaries swore in three new council members, Karen McInnis, Elizabeth Treston and Michael Delury, to start the new year and new terms since they were elected in November.
The trio defeated incumbents Anthony Eramo, Chumi Diamond and Anissa Moore after two straight years of tax hikes of about 8% and two scathing comptroller audits critical of the city’s fiscal collapse, borrowing and excessive payouts to current and former employees.
McInnis and Treston were both elected to four-year terms on a ticket with the New Wave Dems. Delury was elected to a two-year term as the third runner-up and the first Republican elected on the board in a decade.
The new board selected Councilman John Bendo as council president and McInnis as vice president.
Bendo quoted Yogi Berra in saying, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
“Today’s a new day in Long Beach city government,” Bendo said. “This council is determined to take a proactive approach for addressing the challenges the city is facing right now.”
The inauguration ceremony was led by State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach).
McInnis, a strategic finance executive, was sworn in by Nassau District Judge and former Councilwoman Eileen Goggin.
McInnis said the city should pursue economic growth opportunities, cost-saving measures and implementing new and better ways of doing business.
“Long Beach voters have mandated change in our government and various government agencies have recommended changes in how our government manages certain processes,” McInnis said. “We must always strive to do better … Change like this is hard and it’s messy.”
She said change won’t be immediate but promised the council would work to address financial, infrastructure, environmental and communication challenges.
Treston is a retired speech pathologist and community advocate who co-chaired the city’s Community Organizations Active in Disasters after superstorm Sandy.
She said her election felt like Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz."
“Like Dorothy, I feel like we have thrown water on the wicked and watched them melt,” Treston said. “Come out, come out wherever you are. The City of Long Beach needs you. We need to think out of the box. You are looking at a new beginning, a new hope.”
Treston said she wanted to hear residents’ ideas on how to fix the city and implement plans. She told the residents they would be heard by the new council.
“We have a long road ahead of us. It may not be a yellow-brick road, but it is very long,” Treston said.
Delury is the treasurer of East Williston and was sworn in by the village’s mayor, Bonnie Parente.
He said he would bring his experience in government finance and budgets to work with the new council to make the city a better beach community.
“If we work hard to make this city better, it will become a better beach in the future,” Delury said. “There are many headwinds to deal with, but usually after a pretty bad storm, the winds change and sunshine eventually appears.”