Though all three of its open seats were filled by the incumbents on Election Night, the Mountain View City Council will still look a little different this year after a new mayor and vice mayor were selected at a Jan. 10 meeting.
At the council’s first regular meeting of the New Year, and the first in-person meeting since the pandemic started, re-elected incumbents Lucas Ramirez, Alison Hicks and Ellen Kamei were officially sworn in for their second terms on council.
Ramirez was also honored as outgoing mayor after serving in the position for the past year. The council picks a new mayor and vice mayor on an annual basis.
“It really has been an honor to serve as mayor for the past year and work with all of you,” Ramirez said to his fellow council members on the dais, and to a packed council chamber audience. More than 100 members of the public were in attendance, filling the council chamber seats for the first time in nearly three years.
“We have a good team,” Ramirez continued. “I’m proud of the work that you do and that we do every day. Now, at the conclusion of my service as mayor, I want to elevate and praise the work of our city staff, the professional civil servants who are responsible for the daily operations of our city.”
With Ramirez back to regular council member status, it was then time to pick a new mayor and vice mayor. Keeping with the city’s tradition of passing the mayor’s gavel to the vice mayor, Hicks was chosen unanimously by the council to fill the role.
“This is a huge day. This is our first in-person meeting in almost three years,” Hicks said after assuming her new title as mayor. “I mean, that’s incredible. At the time that we vacated the dais, I thought it was going to be several weeks, maybe several months at the most.”
Hicks told the Voice she looks forward to not only serving as mayor, but also getting to do so from the council chambers, rather than a Zoom screen. The city council meetings will now take a hybrid model, with a virtual option for people who want to watch and participate from home.
“It’s a whole new world because we’re in person,” Hicks said. “We’ve been virtual council members, and now to both be mayor and in real life, it’s a big change. The bigger change is being in person again, at this point.”
Council member Pat Showalter was selected to fill the vice mayor position. Showalter already has experience leading the council, having served as mayor during a past term. A civil engineer by trade, Showalter told the Voice that she looks forward to having more time to devote to her role as vice mayor now that she’s retired.
“It’s really a great honor and privilege,” Showalter said upon accepting her new role.
“It’s also a bit of a surprise,” she added, referring to the fact that now-former council member Sally Lieber was originally in line to assume the vice mayor role. Lieber stepped down from her council position late last year after discovering a conflict of interest with her new position on the state Board of Equalization, and her service was honored at the Jan. 10 meeting.
“I want to say thank you so much to my council colleagues and to our city staff,” Lieber said at the meeting. “ … It’s really a team effort here, and I can honestly say that in Mountain View, we have wonderful, incredible staff who provide so much support.”
The council decided to fill Lieber’s position by appointment, and is slated to do so on Jan. 30.
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