There will be plenty of pomp and ceremony at Fresno City Hall on Thursday to install a new mayor and City Council members, but the nuts and bolts of municipal governance will actually begin Tuesday, when the city charter dictates that new terms for those offices actually begin.
Lee Brand, elected in November to replace two-term and term-limited Mayor Ashley Swearengin, will take his oath of office at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the second-floor lobby of the City Council chamber at City Hall. Over the Christmas and New Year holidays, Swearengin and her staff hustled to move her stuff out of the mayor’s office suite to make room for Brand and his incoming staff. And Brand, who spent the past eight years representing Council District 6 in northeast Fresno, has been easing his way into Swearengin’s office. On Thursday he posted a photo to his Facebook profile showing his name already on the door under the caption: “Moving in to new office but found no goodies.”
Brand’s successor in District 6, Garry Bredefeld, will be sworn in at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in the city clerk’s office. This will be Bredefeld’s second time around at City Hall; he served from 1997 to 2001 on the City Council.
Luis Chavez, who won a special election to fill the remaining two years of departing District 5 Councilman Sal Quintero in southeast Fresno, says he’s waiting until Thursday’s 10 a.m. City Council meeting. But Chavez also knows his way around City Hall, having worked as Quintero’s chief of staff. Quintero is stepping down from the council after he was elected to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.
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Thursday’s council meeting – which is open to the public – will include all the requisite ceremony expected of a transition. In addition to swearing in Brand, Bredefeld and Chavez, Councilmen Steve Brandau and Paul Caprioglio will renew their oaths of office after being re-elected without opposition to new four-year terms. There will be presentations of gifts to, and farewell statements by, outgoing council members and Swearengin. The incoming officeholders will offer statements.
A new council president and vice president will be “chosen” – but an established rotation process already in effect will result in District 7 Councilman Clint Olivier taking the president’s gavel from Caprioglio and District 1 Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria becoming the new vice president.