Mandel named council president

Practice of rotating leadership continues


Six months after the City Council instituted a practice of rotating its presidency, Vice President Scott Mandel took over its leadership, while Councilwoman Fran Adelson was named vice president.

The move came after the council announced in July — the same month that Adelson stepped down as president and handed the role to Councilman Len Torres — that it would rotate its two top officers every six months in order to create more “transparency and openness.”

The measure was approved by a 3-1 vote at Tuesday’s meeting, with Democratic Councilman Mike Fagen voting against the practice (Republican Councilman John McLaughlin was not present).

Adelson, Mandel and Torres said that they had discussed the issue after they were sworn into office last January, in the wake of their victory over the Republican majority in November 2011.

According to the city charter, the council must elect a president to preside at its meetings, and may vote to change presidents at any time. Every resolution, local law or ordinance passed by the council must be signed by the president, or by a temporary president in his or her absence, or by three council members.

Although every council member has an equal vote, the council president has more responsibility, and members acknowledged that he or she is the body’s de facto leader.

“One of the things that we have done as a council is really examine the concept of rotation of the presidency,” Torres said. “It’s a healthy thing. We believe in this change, we believe in the new leadership and we believe in each other up here.”

Mandel, an attorney, lauded Torres for his leadership during and after Hurricane Sandy. “I want to thank Len Torres for being an incredible president during one of the most trying times in Long Beach’s history,” Mandel said.

The council also voted unanimously to reappoint David Bythewood to a three-year term on the Zoning Board of Appeals, and to appoint newcomer Eileen Goggin to a three-year term. Goggin, an attorney, will be the only female zoning board trustee, City Manager Jack Schnirman said, adding that she has a daughter in the Long Beach schools and is involved in a number of organizations and activities in the city, including the Long Beach Lawyers Association and the Long Beach Theater Guild.

Goggin replaces Trustee Ray Ellmer, an attorney, a volunteer firefighter and a city lifeguard. Fagen thanked Ellmer for his time and his “distinguished” service on the board, saying that he would be missed.