Bikson returns as mayor in Rochester

Stuart Bikson was elected mayor of Rochester for the next 12 months by his colleagues on Rochester City Council Monday night.

It’s the second stint for Bikson, who served as mayor in 2008 and 2009 before being succeeded by Jeff Cuthbertson. Cuthbertson stepped aside Monday night, saying that being mayor of his hometown “has been a dream come true.”

“At this point in my life, with a young family, a growing law practice and a number of business interests I need to attend to, I think it’s time for me to step aside,” Cuthbertson said. “I certainly will do my best to be an engaged proponent for economic-development policy.” He was elected mayor pro tem, the person who steps in when the mayor is not available for official duties.

Bikson was first elected to city council in 1999. Now that long-term councilman David Becker has stepped down, Bikson is the most senior member of council.

“It’s an honor to be elected mayor and to serve this city,” he said. “I promise I will do my best to represent this city. … Moving forward, I think this council is strong, our city is strong. … Our future looks very bright. I am looking forward to getting to work.”

The newest member of council, Kathy Daldin, was sworn in Monday by Judge Lisa Asadoorian, along with returning council members Ben Giovanelli, Kim Russell and Steve Sage. Daldin, who has served on the Downtown Development Authority Board, was promptly appointed to represent council on the DDA. She thanked the voters “for putting your faith in me. I’m honored and humbled and will do a fantastic job. I will work very hard to do right by you.”

Russell, who earned her second term on council, said the unanimous vote for Bikson “showed great unity, and we’re going to work very hard to work together.”

“It is a great privilege to be a leader in your community. I hope you all feel free to call us and email us because your opinions mean a great deal to every one of us,” she said. “I will promise to do my homework and I will promise to always talk with you.”

Sage, who was appointed to serve on council and just won his first election, agreed. “It is a very important responsibility you’ve given us and one I think we all treat with the utmost of respect,” he said. “Part of that too is finding ways for us to engage you in the process. … I just thank you for the opportunity to facilitate that process.”

Giovanelli, who is also entering his second term, called his re-election “the ultimate validation. … I promise the next four years I’m not going to let you down.”

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