Huntington Beach City Council will select a new mayor today and it looks like it will be current Mayor Pro Tempore Lyn Semeta.
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Huntington Beach doesn’t elect a mayor and instead rotates the position between the seven council members. Typically, a mayor pro tempore elevates to mayor after a one-year term, according to the Huntington Beach City Council Manual. The mayor pro tem frequently steps in for the mayor throughout events in the City of Huntington Beach, said Semeta. Semeta added she would come in prepared already have practiced for the position.
Semeta said she is especially looking forward to serving as mayor during the 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote in 2020. Huntington Beach currently has a female majority on city council with four women serving.
Semeta was elected to city council in 2016 as an independent candidate. She received 34,457 votes giving her the second highest number out of 10 candidates, she said.
Expected to fill the mayor pro tem position is Councilwoman Jill Hardy. Mayor pro tem is assumed by the existing council member with the longest consecutive city council service and the highest number of votes in their election to council.
Hardy received the highest number of votes to council in 2016 followed by Semeta and Councilman Patrick Brenden, Semeta said. But because of a resolution stating any councilmember who has served as mayor within the last four years is not eligible for election as mayor pro tem, Hardy was not eligible to serve as pro tem last year. Tonight she is expected to be voted in as mayor pro tem, Semeta said.
Positions will be sworn in office ceremonially. At the city council meeting Mayor Erik Peterson will present the final Mayor’s Award of the year and give retrospective comments about his time as mayor. Semeta will also present to outgoing Mayor Peterson.
This summer, Semeta faced controversy over a violation of campaign contribution laws in her 2016 campaign for councilwoman. While serving as planning commissioner, Semeta voted in favor of issuing a live-entertainment permit to No Kai Oi, a restaurant on Main Street. Seven weeks later she received $550 from No Kai Oi for her campaign for city councilmember, according to a July stipulation by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.
The Political Reform Act states certain public officials cannot receive more than $250 from any party while a decision affecting a party is pending, according to the FPPC stipulation. She was fined $2,000 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission and returned $301 to the business Aug. 1. She said it was an honest mistake.
Monday’s council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 2000 Main St.