The old next mayor is so day before yesterday. Get ready for a new next mayor.
With Tuesday's announcement by Mayor Pro Tem Kish Rajan that he would not pursue re-election, Walnut Creek's annual mayoral rotation took a turn. If the City Council follows its Rules and Procedures, the mayor come December would be Kristina Lawson, who was elected to City Council in 2010.
Lawson wrote in an email that she was aware of the rotation implications.
By the Rules and Procedures, mayors serve for one year with the transition coming in December. Last December, the council approved a rotation with Bob Simmons as mayor in 2012, Rajan as Mayor Pro Tem (meaning next in line for the mayoralty), Gary Skrel (who is not running for re-election Nov. 6), Lawson and then Cindy Silva, who was the mayor in 2011.
Rajan last month filed his nomination papers for re-election to council Nov. 6. Then, on Tuesday, Rajan announced he was accepting a job as California's first director of the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development. With the demands of that job, Rajan said he would not be able to devote the time and attention to the City Council and would end his campaign for re-election. That puts Lawson next in line to be mayor.
Lawson is a lawyer and partner in the real estate and land use practice of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. She and her husband Matt have two children, Kate and Graham.
The Council Rules and Procedures state:
B. Election of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.
The mayoral rotation system established by this rule can be changed at any time by a Council majority vote. There are five Council Members, each of whom is either elected or appointed to the Council. Each Council Member, regardless of whether elected or appointed, has an equal opportunity to serve as Mayor. At a minimum, a Council Member will serve as Mayor once every five years. Because Council Members have four-year terms of office, a Council Member may not be able to serve as Mayor in a given four-year period.
Each Council Member has a specified position in the rotation sequence. In any year, the first person in the sequence shall be selected as Mayor, the second in the sequence as Mayor Pro Tem. After serving as Mayor, that Council Member moves to the end of the rotation sequence, and the other four Council Members move forward in the sequence. If a Council Member leaves office, the other Council Members move forward in the sequence. A Council Member’s position in the sequence relative to other Council Members may not change except by Council majority vote.
When a new Council Member is elected or appointed, that Council Member goes to the fifth position in the rotation, after all incumbents. If two or more new Council Members are elected at the same time, the number of votes received in the election determines the position in the rotation sequence, with the new Council Member receiving the highest number of votes being first among the new members. Within 60 days of the election or appointment of a new Council Member or members, the Council will approve an updated Mayoral rotation sequence.
At the first meeting in December each year, the Council shall elect one of its members as Mayor and one as Mayor Pro Tem according to the rule set forth above. The election of the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem shall be by vote of a majority of members of the Council. The Mayor shall be seated and assume the duties of presiding officer immediately following the election of Mayor and before the election of the Mayor Pro Tem, unless a motion is carried to elect and seat the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem at the same time.
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