Oakley’s mayoral system has moved like clockwork since incorporation in 1999. The mayor serves a year and the vice mayor takes over the helm the following year. The rotation system allows each council member the opportunity to serve at the head of the dais. That will change in 2013.
“This is out of the ordinary, but bear with me,” Rios announced during the re-organization ceremony held prior to Tuesday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. Rios explained that her husband Richard recently underwent knee replacement surgery and that she needs to dedicate most of her time to care for him. The recovery process is expected to take three months, and doctors have decided Richard will need his other knee replaced, which means an additional three months of recovery time.
“It’s as tradition goes that at this time the vice mayor is nominated to be mayor for the upcoming year,” Rios said. “And I know from experience the huge amount of time it takes to be mayor. The time requirements are demanding. It is a privilege to be mayor to give and to serve and represent the city, but it is also important to give 100 percent. And with his current anticipated medical needs, I don’t think I could give my best to my husband and my city.”
Rios said that after much prayer and soul searching, she decided to decline the nomination to serve as mayor and instead moved that Romick remain as mayor. Councilman Randy Pope seconded the motion and newly sworn-in council members Doug Hardcastle and Diane Burgis supported the decision.
Keeping with the tradition of the rotation system, Pope should have moved into the spot of vice mayor. But since Rios has no plans to seek re-election in 2014, Burgis proposed that Rios stay on as vice mayor in order to finish her council career as mayor. Hardcastle thought the system should remain in place and Pope should move into the vice mayor chair, but his motion failed to garner enough votes to appoint Pope. Rios said she’d like the opportunity to leave the council on top and Burgis and Romick supported the decision.
Earlier in the evening, Romick, who was re-elected to the council in November, was honored for his service as mayor. “Kevin is the mayor who is everywhere,” Rios said while presenting him with a proclamation from the city. “He is a mayor that goes to everything. He represents Oakley well with a smile, his good sense of humor and his eagerness to put the name of Oakley out there.”
In his outgoing message, Romick listed the city’s accomplishments in 2012, which included the opening of the all-abilities playground at Crocket Park, gaining control of Main Street from Caltrans, establishing a neighborhood beautification program, and making progress toward building for a new library and senior center.
For 2013, Romick hopes to work with state legislatures to bring back redevelopment funds so that the city’s downtown revitalization project can move forward.
Also during the re-organization meeting on Tuesday, the council honored outgoing councilmembers Pat Anderson and Jim Frazier. Anderson retired from the council after 13 years of service. Frazier, who completed his four-year term, will represent Oakley on a larger scale as the state assemblyman of District 11, which includes Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Antioch and portions of Solano County. Frazier was sworn in as assemblyman last week.