Charlie Ryan will take over the District 2 alder seat left open by Sarah Gaskell in March.

Alders voted 6-1 for the nonprofit manager over former mayoral candidate and school board president Dennis Beres. Several said the deciding factor in their votes was that Ryan said he intended to run again at the end of his term, unlike Beres, who said he would only fill in the remainder of the term.

Alders listened to Beres and Ryan give presentations on their background, experience and goals for the position during a virtual meeting of the Common Council on April 27.

Ryan also told alders increasing the amount of affordable housing in the city would be his top priority as he finishes the term, which lasts until April 2021.

Ryan, told the council he had gone to high school in Verona and returned to raise his family in the city in 2013 after many years abroad, including time spent working in refugee resettlement in Australia.

He is an area director at Vista Care, Inc. which provides elder and disability care.

The District 2 seat that Ryan will take over was left open by Sarah Gaskell on March 2 when she resigned due to possible conflicts of interest created by the job she had accepted as administrator for the Town of Verona.

The council issued a call for applications for the open position, and Ryan and Beres were the only applicants. Their applications for the position included resumes and written answers to questions about their backgrounds and goals for the city.

Beres, a financial consultant who lost to Luke Diaz for the open mayor position in 2018, said in his application the most important issues in Verona are based on development, including the Sugar Creek Elementary School site, which drew six proposals last month.

Ryan said answers in his application about other important issues facing the city sprang from a poll he took on the social media platform NextDoor, which garnered more than 140 responses. Those include creating a more walkable and lively downtown, with locally owned shops and restaurants, and safety – especially pedestrian safety and addressing home and vehicle break-ins.

Renee Hickman can be contacted at or follow her on Twitter at @ReneeNHickman