The Costa Mesa City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Councilman Eric Bever as the new mayor, following Gary Monahan’s unexpected resignation last week.
The Republican council’s majority paid tribute to Monahan and voiced confidence in Bever, while Councilwoman Wendy Leece mentioned Bever’s spotty attendance record.
“Eric always has a steady hand in the issues,” said Councilman Jim Righeimer, who added that he was “highly supportive” of Bever to become mayor.
“I just want to say thank you for your service over the years,” said Councilman Steve Mensinger, referring to Monahan. “It’s been a lot of years, and you’ve made a lot of sacrifices.”
Monahan announced late last week that he was stepping down because of “increased family and business commitments.”
Leece said she was concerned about the number of City Council meetings Bever has missed.
“I’ve been disappointed in the fact that he hasn’t had a very good attendance [record] at many of the meetings that have been crucial and that we needed his input,” she said. “So I hope that as mayor that he will represent the city at all the meetings and at all the functions too.”
Leece said she hopes the appointment marks a “new chapter” or “turning point” for the city to work together and resolve conflicts with employees.
Bever disputed her characterization, saying he has “a little bit of difficulty with the notion that we are at odds with our employees.”
He added that he once was the sole dissident on the council.
“It was a lonely time back in 2010 being the only guy being out in the middle of the battlefield,” said Bever.
In the end, Leece voted with the rest of the council to select Bever as mayor.
“Congratulations, Mr. Mayor!” Monahan said after the vote, to loud applause from the audience.