By Jim Tortolano
On what is typically a night for celebration, the Huntington Beach City Council split on what is often a routine action: the selection of a mayor pro tempore.
After Councilman Mike Posey was unanimously chosen to be Surf City’s 80th mayor, succeeding Barbara Delgleize, the council majority rejected the nomination of Councilman William “Billy” O’Connell to serve in the second spot.
The vote to 4-3 against O’Connell. After some discussion and reflections on past council organization issues, a 4-3 majority chose Councilman Erik Peterson to serve as the pro tem, a kind of vice mayor.
Unlike cities such as Garden Grove and Westminster, the mayor is not chosen directly by voters but is elected among members of the council. Mayor pro tem selections are influenced by which council candidate polled the most votes in the last election.
That would have been O’Connell, but he became a controversial figure earlier this year when a proposal – eventually withdrawn – to censure him was raised by colleagues upset about remarks he’d made about the offices of city attorney, city manager and chief of police.
But most of the meeting was devoted to reminisces by Delgleize and a vision of the future by Posey, who will serve a one-year term as the city’s top elected official. He had been serving as pro tem.
Posey, first elected to the council in 2014, said that “Regain and retain local control and really keep everyone aware of what’s happening in Sacramento and [Washington] D.C. and how that affects our lives and what we can do to stay one step ahead of the proverbial sheriff,” would be his top priority.
The new mayor noted that decisions made at the state and federal level have a big effect on the ability of local governments to take action on issues that the public is concerned about.
He also emphasized the importance of transparency in government, and economic development, including additional and expanded special events to attract tourism, which he considers Surf City’s “growth industry.”
Also on Monday night, the council voted to dissolve the Huntington Beach Auto Dealers Business Improvement District, at the request of its members.
The next meeting of the council is set for Dec. 18.
Categories: Huntington Beach