New man in charge: Newark City Council promotes Wondolowski to Mayor, Fleischer pro tem

By Austin Jackson | Published Saturday, July 21, 2018
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Taking the Oath

TAKING THE OATH – Newark Mayor Mark Wondolowski is sworn in Thursday at Newark’s City Council meeting. Messenger photo by Austin Jackson

After 89 minutes of deliberation behind closed doors Thursday, Newark city council members emerged from closed session to appoint Mark Wondolowski as Newark’s next Mayor.

Wondolowski previously served as mayor pro tem and acting mayor following Gary Van Wagner’s resignation June 21. Wondolowski, after dropping the pro tem from his placard and taking his oath, said his first priority as mayor will be fostering transparency.

“What I want to do is get the council to have more transparency with the community – open up some doors that have been closed for quite some time,” Wondolowski said. “Invite the community more into city business and make them a part of the decisions that we make – something that hasn’t been happening for quite some time.”

He said receiving and considering community feedback is the beginning of creating an open dialogue between the city council and Newark residents.

On June 28, Newark held a town meeting, seeking feedback from the public. Atop the list was park facilities. On Thursday, Wondolowski and council members approved a $1,040,673 bid to move forward on construction of a multi-use community center.

“[The town meeting] was the beginning of the process,” he said. “We want to continue the momentum. There’s a good groundswell going. We’re continually taking comments and considering them as a council.”

Council members opted to leave the mayoral spot vacant in June. Wondolowski said he spent the month learning what serving as mayor entailed.

“I wasn’t ready, and maybe, some of the council weren’t ready to take that position [in June],” he said. “Since I had been mayor pro tem, I had an idea, but you don’t really know what it is until you live it. Seeing what the mayor actually does this last month has been a growing period for me.”

Councilman Eric Fleischer was appointed to replace Wondolowski as mayor pro tem. Fleischer facilitated the town meeting which drew feedback on upcoming projects for council to pursue. Leading up to Thursday, some considered the councilman to be a candidate for mayor.

After Thursday’s appointments, Fleischer supported Wondolowski.

“I think Wondolowski’s going to be a fantastic mayor.” he said. “I think the city is heading in the right direction.

“I wanted to better serve the community,” he said of his appointment as pro tem. “I’ve been doing quite a few things, with the town hall recently and getting to know other members of the community. I though this would be a good opportunity to help continue to serve.”

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