The mayoral torch was changed hands Monday night.
In a unanimous vote, the city council elected Councilman Pete DeJarnatt Pacifica’s new mayor; so ended Councilwoman Mary Ann Nihart’s one-year term.
Nihart reflected on her year in the position, stating that it was “full of challenges, successes and a lot of tough choices.”
Members of the community showed up to thank Nihart, including representatives from local schools and social services.
“I want to thank you for all you’ve done for our district and the kids of this community," said Board member Eileen Manning-Villar. "You’ve been in support of education for many years.”
Manning-Villar went on to say that Nihart has worked hard to foster a relationship between local government and schools in her time as mayor.
Former mayor and councilwoman Julie Lancelle, who served with Nihart for a time, also spoke on outgoing mayor’s behalf.
“You have a lot of energy and accomplished a great deal,” Lancelle said. “People see part of that. It takes a while to understand and grasp the tremendous number of skills you have and your tenacity and the good-heartedness you bring to the work.”
Director Anita Rees thanked Nihart for her commitment to helping residents in need.
“I want to thank you for your support and your commitment and passion for the people of Pacifica,” she said.
City council members also shared their thoughts on Nihart’s performance as mayor.
“I’ve been impressed with her ability to be positive in all the things she works on, to bring folks together, to have the compassion that she has,” said Councilman Jim Vreeland. “She has made us a stronger town this year.”
Nihart responded to the thanks in a heartfelt speech.
“I appreciate the thanks and everyone that came forward and talked about the year that we spent,” she said.
Mayor Pete DeJarnatt said Monday night that he was not available for a direct interview about his agenda or vision for 2012, but would sit down with Pacifica Patch this week for one. He did make remarks about his new role during the council meeting, however.
“I appreciate the trust placed in me by the rest of my members of the city council, I will do the job the way I always have, to the best of my ability,” he said. “I’ll make sure I’m fair and try to treat everyone with respect and dignity and try to treat people the way I like to be treated.”
Mayor DeJarnatt also spoke about the difficulty of the job and how hard the upcoming year, with new budget cuts coming down the line, will be.
“To be perfectly honest I have definite ambivalent feelings about this job, especially the upcoming year, because it isn’t something I would call fun anymore but it is something that--it’s hard exactly to put your finger on it, except that I think we’re all doing our best to make a positive contribution to a city we all very much care about. We will do the best that we can and I certainly will do that myself.”
Councilman Len Stone was elected by the city council as Mayor Pro Tem.