With Tuesday’s changing of the guard, Laguna Beach has a new mayor along with two new council members.
Council newcomers Bob Whalen and Steve Dicterow were sworn-in before a standing-room-only crowd in the Laguna Beach City Council Chambers on Tuesday evening. New Mayor Kelly Boyd presented flowers and a plaque to outgoing Mayor Jane Egly, and council member Toni Iseman did the same for outgoing Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger. Egly and Rollinger were defeated in last month's election.
"Jane's been here for eight years with us and has done a phenomenal job," said Boyd.
He mentioned that Egly had helped preserve Laguna Beach open space, supported the construction of new facilities at Main Beach and protected the environment through various initiatives.
"I'm touched. Thank you very much," said Egly. "It has been an absolute pleasure being on the Laguna Beach City Council. I think this is the best community there is, and I think it's because of all the people who live in Laguna Beach. Everybody seems to do some participation and help our city to be just, just perfect."
Egly also offered thanks to the city staff.
"We sit up here and make these decisions," said Egly, "but the city staff are the ones that do all the work."
"Verna, I have the pleasure of saying a little bit about what it's meant to me and a lot of people in our town, and the things that you've done...very specific things that I think will live on,” said Iseman.
Iseman praised Rollinger's involvement in creating the Laguna Canyon Flood Mitigation Task Force and her work towards downloading Laguna Beach information and records onto the Internet for public view. Iseman stated that Rollinger had "found" $250,000 for the City of Laguna Beach due to the sale of a parcel of land.
"It has been a pleasure," said Iseman. "I know you've always had Laguna's back, and you've had mine and we love you dearly. Thank you very much."
After being seated, Rollinger shared some of her accomplishments with the audience. She said she established the first City Chamber Business Task Force, she opposed the Aliso Creek S.U.P.E.R. Project and she advocated a policy, which requires staff to bring Coastal Commission recommendations to the City Council before the Coastal Commission acts.
Egly and Rollinger weren’t the only city officials to step down Tuesday. City Clerk Martha Anderson also completed her last day with the city.
"There's one other person who just wanted to ride off into the sunset with no fanfare. She didn't even want to be mentioned. But I can't let her get away with that,” said Boyd. “So, Martha, thank you for everything."
"I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 21 years of service to the City of Laguna Beach and I particularly have enjoyed the last eight years as your elected City Clerk,” said Anderson. “I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support, so I'll just say thank you."
She then swore in the new City Clerk, Lisette Chel-Walker.
Chel-Walker thanked Anderson for selecting her as Deputy City Clerk more than four years ago.
"I've been with the city for 30 years, and I've loved all 30 years,” said Chel-Walker. “What a wonderful way to start my new phase as City Clerk. I look forward to working with everyone. I welcome my new deputy, Ashley Brissinger. We will both be here to help all of you."
Chel-Walker then swore-in Whalen and Dicterow. She also swore in City Treasurer Laura Parisi.
Dicterow thanked his supporters.
"I was brought up in a family where I was taught that it's the duty of every citizen to serve the public. That certainly motivated me to want to serve in the past. As I served in the past, I really learned that I absolutely love serving on the city council in Laguna Beach. I'm so looking forward to participating again."
Whalen congratulated Dicterow, thanked the community and said,” I very much want to make a contribution to the city as a council member. Looking at Jane and Verna and what they accomplished, we're extremely fortunate to have had servants like them who have volunteered their time for so long...I look forward to interacting with all of you and accomplishing some very good things for the city here in the next four years."