NORWALK, Conn. – The Harry Rilling era in Norwalk has begun: The former police chief was sworn in as the new mayor Tuesday at Norwalk City Hall.
“I thank you all for your support and the confidence you have placed in me,” Rilling said at the ceremony. “I promise not to disappoint you.”
Gov. Dannel Malloy issued the oath of office to Rilling in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the Community Room at City Hall. Before the swearing-in ceremony, the former Stamford mayor offered some advice to Rilling as he started what Malloy called “one of the best jobs in all of politics.”
“[People] look to you for their guidance and their leadership as you and they strive to create a current Norwalk and a future Norwalk, and lay the plans for future generations to do equally well in this community as you and all of us have done here,” Malloy said.
In his inauguration speech, Rilling pledged to work with fellow leaders “on both sides of the aisle” to improve Norwalk. He takes over the mayor’s office as a Democrat with a Republican-controlled Common Council.
He noted that he had spent the earlier part of the day meeting with police officers and firefighters, teachers and students at Fox Run Elementary School and West Rocks Middle School as well as local business leaders at Diageo.
“We have the right plans to responsibly develop our city for the 21st century, and by embracing our natural beauty and geography, by working to improve our schools and keeping taxes in check,” Rilling said.
He also pledged to continue to push for “smart developments” that bring jobs and tax revenue to Norwalk without over-developing. Rilling said he had already met with developers interested in coming to Norwalk.
On education, Rilling said he plans to work with new Superintendent Manuel Rivera to make the Norwalk Public Schools “world-class institutions where every child has the opportunity to succeed.”
“I know our best days are yet to come,” Rilling said. “My recipe for getting us there will by listening, working together, and leading us forward, so people can once again say ‘You see that shining star over there? That’s Norwalk.’”
Rilling topped former Mayor Richard Moccia, who has served four two-year terms, in the Nov. 5 election. Rilling grabbed 55 percent of the vote to oust the Republican after eight years of leading Norwalk.
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