Since Menifee became a city in October 2008, the five-member council elects one of its own as the city's official mayor. Thus far, councilman Wallace Edgerton had been elected mayor three times in the last three years.
However, several people addressed council members at last night's city council meeting asking them to make a change.
"Sometimes moving forward with change can be beneficial as well", said Kassen Klein, a former planning commissioner with the City of Murrieta.
Ted Wegener, a local real estate appraiser, voiced a similar opinion, suggesting the position of mayor be rotated amongst council members. "I know in some of our surrounding cities is they rotate the position of mayor. And philosophically, I think it's a good idea to have term limits."
"I think it's time to pass the hat", said Joe Daugherty, who runs an accounting business in Sun City. "I think it's important to spread responsibility around when you're part of a team."
The call for change comes after a rough 2011, a year that saw city council members wrestle tumultuous issues such as Wal-Mart, the Town Center project, redistricting, and the appointment of council member Fred Twyman's replacement.
When the council discussed voting for a mayor last evening, Sue Kristjansson began by nominating John Denver, a motion that was seconded by Darcy Kuenzi.
Tom Furhman, interestingly, introduced another motion to nominate Wallace Edgerton for another year as Mayor, a move that was seconded by Edgerton himself.
Edgerton called for a vote on his own nomination, receiving only votes from Fuhrman and himself. Then he called for a vote on John Denver's nomination, receiving votes from Kristjansson, Kuenzi, and Denver.
John Denver was named the new mayor of Menifee. Following, Tom Fuhrman was elected Mayor Pro Tem by unanimous vote of the council.
"Let's congratulate the new mayor, and let's move forward.", Edgerton remarked after the vote. "I have served as mayor for three years, and it's been a real privilege the first time, and I want to thank the community because I got the most votes, that's why I was the mayor. But the next two times I served, the council supported me as mayor, and I want to thank the council."
With that, Edgerton asked if John Denver wished to make any comments.
"I do, and thank you for your help on this, I'm very honored to have this opportunity" John Denver replied in response. "I want to also thank you on behalf of the citizens of Menifee, and for the council, for your hard work. You've done a fine job, and we all want to congratulate for three years of fine work."
Denver was first elected to city council in 2008 when the city incorporated. Prior to that, he served for 17 years as a trustee on the Perris Union High School District. He was active in the cityhood incorporation effort, and remains active the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce as well as the Rotary Club of Menifee. He's been working as a real estate broker in town for the past 30 years.
Denver will assume his new position at the next city council meeting scheduled for January 4, 2012.
This will also mark the last year that Menifee's mayor will be elected by council. On November 6, 2012, voters will choose the next mayor for a 2-year term.