The City Council's senior member, Mike Kasperzak, took the center of the council dais Tuesday after his colleagues followed tradition and unanimously elected him as mayor.
In a system where each member gets a turn for a year of running meetings, setting agendas, cutting ribbons and representing the city, Vice Mayor Kasperzak was next in line. Council member Tom Means nominated John Inks as vice mayor, who also won in a unanimous vote.
Kasperzak gave a brief, optimistic speech, noting that the city had experienced council members at its helm and strong finances.
"We are lucky this will be the fourth year coming together for this council," he said. "This city is in a great position, we've got strong finances."
"It really does give us the resources to carry on through this economic cycle," which may be ongoing, he added.
He said his top goals would be promoting public health and civic engagement through a new online forum the city may open up. Last week Kasperzak noted interest in a new privately run online forum that Palo Alto, Berkeley and other cities are planning to use called Open Town Hall.
Kasperzak held the mayor job once before, in 2003. The lawyer, a Republican turned Democrat, runs a mediation business. He served eight years on the council before stepping down in 2006, then took a break before running for his third term in 2008. He is up for re-election in November.
Before stepping down, Mayor Jac Siegel gave a speech about the past year: how he met President Obama twice and hired a new city manager. "We hired the best one," Siegel said of City Manager Daniel Rich. "I think we did, I'm sure we did."
And he noted just how busy he was. He claims to have gone to 200 meetings in addition to the council's weekly meetings, plus 47 regularly scheduled "Yac with Jac" meetings, where he met an average of three constituents each time.
Siegel commented about how little the mayor is compensated for all the extra work. Before the votes he told other council members about a new ruling from the Fair Political Practices Commission. "You can't vote for yourself. Being mayor brings a $125 a month raise, so we want to make sure there's no hanky-panky going on."
Kasperzak said he plans to hold regular meetings with constituents on the first and 15th of each month at coffee shops all around the city. He said the locations would be listed on his Facebook page, facebook.com/mkasperzak.