Garden Grove

Mayor and council members are sworn in

NEW COUNCIL MEMBER George Brietigam is sworn in at Tuesday’s meeting of the Garden Grove City Council (Orange County Tribune photos).

By Jim Tortolano

A “new” Garden Grove City Council was seated Tuesday, with three incumbents starting new terms and a fourth member starting a four-year stint.

The mayor serves for two years and council members for four.

Sworn in were incumbents Mayor Steve Jones, Councilmembers Phat Bui (District 4) and Thu-Ha Nguyen (District 3) as well as newcomer George Brietigam, who will serve as the councilman representing District 1, known as West Grove.

The council also said farewell to Kris Beard, the outgoing councilman who served from 2001 to 2018, most recently from District 1.

“It’s been the honor of my life to be a councilman and as mayor pro tem for the City of Garden Grove,” said Beard, who was presented with several honors including a “Beard” street sign.

Brietigam gave some insight into the might-have-beens of the 2018 council race. “I really didn’t even know I was going to be running until three days before the final deadline for filing, “ he said. “And I wasted a day waiting for my wife to decide if I could run or not.”

Jones said serving as mayor was a “passion” for him. “It’s certainly a thrill to be a part of this city at this time that we’re going through with all the challenges and so many opportunities,” he said.

In 2019, the council will grapple with the issue of trying to hammer out a contract agreement with the Orange County Fire Authority to take over fire and paramedic services for the city, a move that has been controversial.

Additionally, the new council will take on implementation of a 1-cent sales tax approved by voters on Nov. 6 that is expected to being in an additional $19 million annually to city coffers. The new tax doesn’t kick in until April 1.

The next council meeting is set for Jan. 8, 2019.

UPDATE: Stephanie Klopfenstein was selected the new mayor pro tempore.

THE NEW Garden Grove City council is (front row, left to right) Stephanie Klopfenstein, Thu-Ha Nguyen, Kim Nguyen (back row) John O’Neill, Phat Bui, Steve Jones, George Brietigam.

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