The City Council named Laurene Weste the new mayor of Santa Clarita Tuesday night for a year-long term.
It is the fifth time Weste has held the reins as mayor, with previous stints in 2001, 2006, 2010 and 2014.
Every December, at its reorganization meeting, the City Council appoints a new mayor and a mayor pro-tem chosen from the council’s five members.
The mayor pro-tem is usually next in the rotation to become mayor.
While mostly a ceremonial role, the mayor presides over council meetings, takes part in ribbon cuttings and may sign off on official documents. However, the mayor does not have the power to veto a council vote, and his or her vote is equal to that of the other four City Council members.
Weste takes the mayor’s gavel just a few days before the city’s official 30th anniversary on Friday.
“I will be representing the policies and goals of the City Council and the community,” she said before the meeting. “And I’m thrilled and honored to represent such a great city and to have such a privilege.”
Council members also unanimously appointed Marsha McLean as mayor pro-tem.
McLean said she is looking forward to 2018 and working with Weste on projects the two both care about.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with Laurene,” McLean said. “We have a lot of things in common that we care about – the open space, the parks, the architecture, the ambiance of our community. Even though we’re growing and we’re a pretty large city right now, we still have a small-town feel and I absolutely love that and want to keep that.”
Outgoing mayor Cameron Smyth reflected on a year that he said had something for everyone.
“2017 had a little bit of everything: appointing a new council member and a number of groundbreakings,” Smyth said. “And we tackled several policy issues like the legalization of marijuana and revamping the mobile home ordinance.”
However, Smyth said he was most proud of how the Santa Clarita community came together during times of crisis.
“The record rainfall, along with the recent fires, caused significant concern within the city,” Smyth said. “But I think the highlight was seeing Santa Clarita come together in support of the families and victims of the Las Vegas shooting. To me, that’s what makes Santa Clarita such a great place.”
Photos: Stephen K. Peeples.