LANSING | Bailey Abbott may only be 7, but she’s an old pro when it comes to political inaugurals.
Bailey is the granddaughter of village President Norm Abbott, who is a widower.
As such, Abbott occasionally has his granddaughter stand in as the unofficial “first lady” of Lansing for functions where a woman’s presence is desired.
Abbott had her with him in 2009 when he originally was elected as village president. And he had her at his side on Tuesday – when retired Cook County Judge Thomas Panichi administered an oath of office in which Abbott vowed to uphold the constitutions of the United States and Illinois, and all village ordinances “to the best of my ability.”
Not that Bailey Abbott was the only child present for Tuesday’s inaugural. Village Trustee Mikal Stole had his young daughter, Ava, at his side while he took the oath from Panichi.
The oath took all of about a minute to administer, and it came after Panichi also administered oaths to new village Clerk Donna Kooyenga and three village trustees — incumbents Mikal Stole and Terry Kapteyn and newly elected Trustee Michael Manno (who is a retired police officer).
All of the newly sworn-in officials will serve terms running through April 2017.
Manno ran for his trustee post on a slate of candidates affiliated with Abbott’s village president challenger — former village Trustee Donald Sciackitano. He was not present on Tuesday, but Sciackitano supporters Humberto Rivera and Kelly Hasse were present to see Manno sworn into office.
Transition was quick, as Abbott’s administrative assistant, Vivian Payne, literally slapped new nameplates for Kooyenga and Manno onto their desks in the Village Board chambers within seconds of their oaths of office being completed — replacing the nameplates for now-former Clerk Patricia Eidam and Trustee Dan Lyzenga. Both of them lost their bids for re-election in the April 9 municipal elections.
Abbott, however, had nice things to say about both of the departing officials.
He praised Eidam for developing a program allowing people to use their credit cards to pay many village bills, while he said Lyzenga (a contractor by profession) helped to “revitalize” the village’s building department.