New London - Wade A. Hyslop was sworn in to a fourth term on the City Council Monday night and unanimously named council president during a brief ceremony in which all seven councilors began their two-year terms.
Hyslop, whose wife, Jessie Hyslop, administered the oath of office, replaces Councilor Michael Passero, who had served as council president for the past two years.
Political newcomer Efrain Dominguez, a teacher who grew up in the high-rise apartments on Crystal Avenue, was sworn in by his sister, Adacil Dominguez. He was chosen by the council to be deputy mayor pro tem and was then sworn in again, this time by his father, Efrain Dominguez. The father spoke in Spanish as the son translated.
"This opportunity has been given to you to serve the City of New London," the elder Dominguez said as the son rested his hand on the Bible. "May God bless you."
Other councilors taking the oath of office for the first time were Michael Tranchida, a former city clerk whose 90-year-old father attended the ceremony; and Erica Richardson, a former Pfizer employee who now works for an Internet start-up company. She was sworn in by Sean Murray. Tranchida was sworn in by Sandy Grady.
Returning to office for a second term was Anthony Nolan, a city police officer. Martin T. Olson, a former councilor who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011, was also sworn in. He is the only Republican on the council. Both were sworn in by City Clerk Nathan Caron.
Passero was sworn in by his sister, Mary Minton.
Hyslop, who represented the City of New London in the 39th Assembly District for 14 years before running for the council six years ago, said his priorities for the coming year will be public safety, economic development and education.
"As I look out, I see what New London is. And it's about inclusion," he said.
For the first time, four minorities are seated on the council.
"Every segment of the city is represented," he said.
Six of the seven seats are filled by Democrats, including three who have never before held political office.
"As of tonight, there are seven individuals who will work together as a team," Hyslop said. "Those of us who have the City of New London at heart will see things get done."
Hyslop also presented Passero, who was the highest vote-getter in the election, the gavel Passero used as president during the past two years. Traditionally the gavel is mounted on a plaque with an inscription, but Hyslop said he forgot to do it.
"I certainly applaud the work Councilor Passero has done, and I hope to build on it," he said.
Mayor Daryl Justin Finzio said before the swearing-in ceremony that he expects to have a "dream working relationship" with Hyslop and the new council.
"It's a totally different dynamic on the council," he said. He also expects to attend all or most City Council meetings, something he said he didn't feel comfortable doing with the previous council.
Because of Hyslop's experience in Hartford, Finizio expects a lot of work will be done in caucuses - which is when members of the same party get together in private to discuss topics that will come up at public meetings.
"He will be a very powerful council president," Finizio said. "It's clear we will be working together."
After the ceremony, Hyslop said there will be caucuses not to decide issues but to discuss problems so council meetings run smoothly.
"I want people to understand we are all working for them," he said.