Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

December 12, 2006 > Same faces, some in different places

Same faces, some in different places

by Steve Warga

The all ran for re-election and they all won voter approval in November. Incumbent Mayor Jose Estevez, will serve another two years which will complete his term-limited tenure as mayor. Councilmembers Armando Gomez and Althea Polanski will retain their chairs through 2010. Given their incumbency, none of the ritualistic shuffling of the dais seating chart occurred after the Swearing-in Ceremony for new members Tuesday, December 5.

However, some unusual jockeying did take place when it came time to name a new vice-mayor for the next two years. Following tradition, Estevez offered a nomination for council discussion and vote. Noting that she has been the leading vote-getter in the past two councilmember races, Estevez nominated Polanski. This move was followed by a curious silence as no councilmember seconded the nomination. Polanski quickly filled the void with a brief acknowledgement, then proceeded to second her own nomination. She and Estevez were the only “ayes,” meaning the nomination lost with three “no” votes.

Estevez tried again by nominating incumbent Vice-Mayor Gomez, who graciously declined, suggesting it was time to let another member occupy the position. Councilmember Debbie Giordano then nominated Bob Livengood, with Gomez seconding. Livengood received three “ayes.”

Council then dug into a full agenda that stretched the meeting well past 10 p.m. and featured considerable ruminations from nearly all members in nearly all discussions.

When it came time for Announcements, City Manager Charles Lawson first introduced a new director of a new department, Parks and Recreation. This department is a combination of Recreation Services and Parks Services into a full-fledged, joint operation; an idea Lawson was working on back in August when TCV profiled him in our series on city managers (Charles Lawson, Milpitas City Manager, 8/08). Greiner’s 17 years experience with Milpitas counted in her favor along with a proven ability to successfully conceive, develop and manage a wide variety of projects. Lawson noted his selection of Greiner came only after a lengthy evaluation of numerous, strong candidates.

In his second announcement of the evening, Lawson formally revealed his plans to retire, effective December 15, making this city council meeting his last. He noted the recent decision to hire Tom Williams as his replacement. Williams has worked as the city’s Planning Department director for about a year now. Upon completion of contract negotiations, he’ll be formally presented as city manager.

Mayor Estevez took this opportunity to laud Lawson’s years of dedicated service and effective leadership on behalf of Milpitas citizens as their police chief for 11 years, then as city manager for two years. Lawson received a stylish pedestal-mounted glass sculpture as a memento. He leaves a city more fiscally sound, aesthetically pleasing and efficiently run than what he inherited only two years ago.

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