PALMDALE — In a meeting that included a number of items relating to beginning-of-the-year assignments on Tuesday, the City Council elected Councilman Austin Bishop to serve as mayor pro tem for the coming year, succeeding Councilman Juan Carrillo.
The vote in favor of Bishop was 4-1, with Councilwoman Laura Bettencourt dissenting.
“I just want to say that I really enjoyed being the mayor pro tem this year,” Carrillo said. “It’s been a great experience.”
Mayor Steve Hofbauer, elected in November to the position that had been held for 26 years by Jim Ledford, said he expected the mayor pro tem to play a bigger role than previously.
“I know you (Carrillo) didn’t get a lot of particular action in there just because of the dynamics, but one of the things I’m looking to do is, with all the stuff that’s going on, public board and committees that I’m on, I’m going to be relying on that position quite a bit more. I really think it’s more than just coming in and handling this (council) meeting if I happen to be out,” Hofbauer said.
Bishop volunteered to take on the role of mayor pro tem, and Hofbauer made the nomination a motion, which did not require a second.
Bettencourt pointed out that the council had changed the process of selecting a mayor pro tem two years ago, changing it to a majority vote of the council instead of the previous method of rotating the position among council members, providing each an opportunity at the job.
“I still think we need to go back to the rotation instead of having it be a group selection. I think that’s fair. I think that the ordinance that you had was fair to everyone on the council, so I think it should be returned to the original ordinance,” Bettencourt said.
In that February 2017 change, Carrillo, Hofbauer and Bishop voted to approve the resolution that changed the appointment system for mayor pro tem. Bettencourt and then-Mayor Jim Ledford dissented.
The council also went over appointments to various boards and committees, making few changes to the assignments.
During the meeting, Councilman Richard Loa took the oath of office for a second time, this time with Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mario Barrera administering.
Loa, a Palmdale attorney and former councilman, was appointed by Hofbauer at the council’s Dec. 11 meeting to fill the remaining two years in the term representing District Two that had been vacated by Hofbauer with his election as mayor. He took the oath of office at that time, administered by City Clerk Rebecca Smith.
“Even though he was sworn in by the city clerk, we thought it only fair that he also get sworn in by a judge,” City Manager James Purtee said Monday.