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Council Plays Team Ball, Selects Beall and Baric in Tandem

Tony Beall becomes the first mayor to serve consecutive terms in the city's history as council votes for a team, rather than selecting a mayor and then a mayor pro tem.

There were no fireworks, and it didn't take all night as some people thought might happen. But the City Council of Rancho Santa Margarita did step out of line by not doing things the way it has done them in the past.

It did not vote for a mayor and then a mayor pro tempore, but instead selected a team.

Councilmembers spoke of acting in a united front, and by a 4-1 vote, Tony Beall was selected the city's mayor for the second year in a row with Steve Baric filling the vacant role of mayor pro tem.

The one dissenting vote was Jesse Petrilla, who had asked that instead of voting on Carol Gamble's "team selection" proposal that the mayor and mayor pro tem be selected separately.

Petrilla also provided the most surprising moment of the process following Jerry Holloway's nomination of Beall and Gamble's nomination of a Beall/Baric ticket. Petrilla nominated Gamble for mayor. Sitting to Petrilla's right, Gamble's eyes widened in shock as she turned her head quickly toward the youngest councilman in the city's history.

Gamble admitted she was flattered by Petrilla's gesture, but withdrew her name because she is caring for her 89-year-old mother, who for more than a month after contracting pneumonia was "unintentionally medicated" with an anti-psychotic drug not intended for use by the elderly. "I don't know what I'm doing next Friday, let alone in 2012," Gamble said.

Gamble's rationale for nominating Beall and Baric as a team appeared solid, noting Beall's leadership over the past year and the fact that Baric is the vice president of the California Republican Party who will likely have extraordinary demands on his time in a presidential election year.

Both Holloway and Gamble indicated their preference for Beall as mayor was to provide some consistency as the city breaks in a new city manager with the retirement of Steve Hayman, who was honored at the beginning of the meeting.

"There's going to be a learning curve, and the relationship between the city manager and the mayor is a close one," Holloway said.

Beall had opened the discussion by nominating Baric to succeed him.

"We’ve had a heck of a year, and I’m proud of where this city council sits as of today; we’ve come a long way and achieved a lot," Beall said after his selection. "The most important thing to me tonight is when we finish this vote and move on after tonight, that we move on as a united, positive, cohesive and very functional city council that always makes every decision based on the best interests of this city."

Simon Ellenberger December 17, 2011 at 01:12 AM
With all due respect, RSM Dad, I am not a Jesse supporter. I did not vote for him. Nor would I when he is up for re-election. I'd appreciate it if you post meaningful comments rather than attack those with views that differ from yours. It's rather disingenuous on your part to do that, particularly when you do not divulge your name. Commenting in the shadows has no dignity.
Marilyn P. December 17, 2011 at 02:20 AM
Russ, please explain why you think Jesse Petrilla qualified to be mayor before 2014. He's proven time and time again that he's not experienced or mature enough to hold this position until he gets his feel wet. In case you missed everything, here's a recap (The reader comments after each article complete the picture): http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/city-council-no-appointment-but-plenty-of-antics http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/a-heated-dialogue-among-council-members http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/jesse-petrilla-a-lightning-rod-in-a-memorable-council-debut http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/petrilla-should-find-availability-or-find-an-excuse-to-get-out-of-council-selection http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/heavy-hitters-on-deck-for-second-round-of-city-council-interviews http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/second-round-of-candidates-appear-before-city-council http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/petrilla-gives-council-go-ahead-to-go-on-without-him http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/petrilla-returns-to-council-minus-the-drama
April Josephson December 17, 2011 at 09:36 AM
Simon, I respectfully disagree with you. The issue is definitely one of performance. Our city is run very "lean and mean," to quote Councilman Petrilla from Wednesday's study session. The economic development consultant at that meeting stated that for RSM's size, we should have 4 times as much staff as we do. Yet, we are an exemplary city. Given our limited staff and high standards, the new city manager will have to hit the ground running and need as many experienced contacts as possible to get off to a good start. The stability of having the same mayor as last year will absolutely help the new city manager do a better job, and our residents deserve nothing less. Your argument that the entire council, not the mayor, picks the new city manager is off-base. That wasn't the rationale behind the choice to retain the existing mayor. Nor did the 2012 campaign have anything to do with it. Mayor Beall nominated Councilman Baric, then Councilman Holloway—who will be running against Beall in 2012—nominated Beall. Why would he do that if this was about the election? Who wants their competition to be the Mayor, if being the Mayor provides a campaign advantage? If your remarks are to hold any water, you'll need to explain Holloway's actions... The truth is, those who have already been mayor know the demands and institutional knowledge required and they put the city's interests first by choosing to maintain stability in that area while the new city manager gets his (or her) sea legs.
Tom Bren December 19, 2011 at 01:34 AM
I have watched from a distance and witnessed a very cunning and divisive man in Mayor Beall. I am very surprised the Mr. Holloway and Ms. Gamble are drawn into these political games. If we were trying to unify this council, Mayor Beall was the worst choice. Look at the past year of decisions and abuse by this man. This is what he did at CAPO. He divided the board and is now doing the same thing here in Rancho. He put in place friends who gave him a million dollar judgement for his name being on a piece a paper. We see now that all charges were dropped against Fleming and the district stands to lose millions more. I predict many seats will be turned over in 2012. Oh and by the way, Brad McGirr, you are Tony Beall planning commissioner so don't even think about getting the publics support if you decide to run.
Josh Griffin December 28, 2011 at 11:14 PM
Marilyn P. You're incorrectly assuming that this is about Jesse. We don't care about Jesse.

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