Friday, December 11, 2015

• How Our Mayor Is Selected

Most of us don't really pay attention to city politics. Until I started going to the Wildomar City meetings back in Summer of 2013, I had no idea where the City Hall even was located. Before moving to W'mar, I had lived in San Clemente for eons, and only saw one city council meeting, and that was on public access cable. To this day I couldn't tell you where their city hall is.

That is normal for most residents in a city. If a person doesn't have an issue that needs city hall's involvement, most people just go about their merry way.

With that said, many people don't know how a mayor is chosen in a small town. As a child, I grew up with the TV news always talking about LA Mayor Tom Bradley. I knew his name, but not the name of the mayor where I lived. In a lot of cities/towns a specific person is chosen as mayor. The cities of Riverside and San Bernardino choose mayors through a specific election.

Fun fact. When I was 12, my step mother ran for mayor of San Bernardino... she missed it by that much.


Smaller cities, like Wildomar, often appoint a mayor from among the elected city council members. It's mostly a ceremonial position.

In Wildomar, the Mayor and MPT (Mayor Pro Tem) set the agenda. They do that the Wednesday prior to the council meeting. The Mayor also has the gavel and conducts the city council meetings.

The pay for each Wildomar city council member stands at $300 per month. The mayor gets no additional pay.

Many cities in our area rotate the title of Mayor and MPT. The exception is Menifee, their residents vote for just Mayor (elected at large).

Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, Murrieta, Temecula and Wildomar all rotate the title. Usually the councilmember who has the Mayor Pro tem title will rotate and be the Mayor in the next year. I say "usually" as it is not a rule. And the title doesn't not have to rotate, not a rule either.

There is a city in California named Reedly, population of about 25,000, that put in an automatic rotation scheme for their Mayor and MPT back in 2011. (Here's a link to their minutes covering it)

I got Bridgette Moore's take on it (recently selected Mayor of Wildomar for 2016).

I received one comment that "Ben termed out" and I explained that Ben could have been Mayor again, if the other 4 all agreed to that.
So far in our 7 year history, I was the only one that didn't rotate the next year to Mayor and I chose that. So in 2008, I was Pro Tem and then in 2009 I "should" have rotated to Mayor but I felt I wasn't ready so we voted for Scott Farnam to be Mayor and I had another term as Pro Tem. Then in 2010, I was Mayor but then not again until 2016.
My personal opinion is, I like that we rotate. Each councilmember has a different style that can be utilized during their year. For the residents, if they do not particularly like that year's current Mayor, it'll change soon!

As you can probably guess, when the council doesn't choose the Mayor Pro Tem for Mayor and then chooses another councilmember, problems can arise. Fortunately for Wildomar, we haven't had those issues.


A list of all the Mayors and MPTs that have served Wildomar since incorporation.
  • 2008 Mayor Bob Cashman, MPT Bridgette Moore
  • 2009 Mayor Scott Farnam, MPT Bridgette Moore
  • 2010 Mayor Bridgette Moore, MPT Marsha Swanson
  • 2011 Mayor Marsha Swanson, MPT Ben Benoit
  • 2012 Mayor Ben Benoit, MPT Tim Walker
  • 2013 Mayor Tim Walker, MPT Marsha Swanson
  • 2014 Mayor Marsha Swanson, MPT Ben Benoit
  • 2015 Mayor Ben Benoit, MPT Bridgette Moore
  • 2016 Mayor Bridgette Moore, MPT Tim Walker



From the city website:

The City Council is made up of five members elected at-large by the citizens to serve as the law-making and policy-setting body of the municipality. The Council appoints a City Manager to direct administrative affairs and a City Attorney to be the legal advisor for the City.

The City Council appoints a Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem each December, with the effective date of appointment being January 1 of the following year. They will serve as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem for the entire calendar year, from January 1 through December 31.

Council Members are elected to a four-year term of office with staggered terms. This means at one election there will be three Council Members elected, and the next election there will be two Council Members elected. Elections are held in November of even-numbered years.


From my observation, being the mayor is a lot more work than a regular city council member. I came in on the final months of Tim Walker's time as mayor, and have seen Marsha Swanson and Ben Benoit in that position. They've all shown great dedication to the post. It'll be fun to watch how Bridgette Moore does things.

We know that she'll be keen on parks issues and events, but there are many weighty issues that will be on the agenda in 2016 that she'll be ready for too. 

The one thing that I've observed about her is that she knows what she's talking about, on pretty much each and every issue/topic in Wildomar. She takes her position seriously, and is always eager to meet with residents of Wildomar. 


Cell Phone: 951-219-0951
Office Phone: 951-677-7751
Fax: 951-698-1463



•      •       

The true privilege of being Mayor is that I have the opportunity to be everyone's neighbor.
― Thomas Menino

Wildomar Rap tip of the day: When in doubt, it's better to vacuum twice instead on not at all.

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