By Jordan Cohen
Giovanne “John” Merlo, a lifelong Niles resident, was sworn in last week as the city’s 2nd Ward councilman after a unanimous vote by Democratic precinct committee members.
He will finish the term of Theodore Papas, who resigned this month.
The interim term expires at the end of this year.
“This will be the easiest election you’ll ever have,” said Robert Marino, council president, but it will be just as easy when Merlo runs for the full two-year term in next month’s general election.
Merlo, who had no opposition for the interim appointment, is on the ballot and unopposed in November for the 2nd Ward council seat.
“I’m excited to get into politics in Niles,” said Merlo, 33, who is manager of the Niles branch of U.S. Bank and becomes the youngest member of council. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”
This is the first public office Merlo has had, but he is no stranger to politics. The newest council member said he has been active for 14 years in the Niles Democrat Men’s Club.
“I don’t have any specific issues I’m concerned about at the moment,” said Merlo who is married and the father of two. “I want to work with the administration and help the community grow.
“I expect to stay here and raise my family, and that’s why I’m here,” he said.