Ignoring established policy, City council voted 3-2 (Zahra and Silva “no”) to select Fred Jung as the new Mayor and Bruce Whitaker as Mayor Pro Tem at their December 7 meeting.
Each December, the City Council votes to appoint a Mayor and Mayor Pro from among themselves. In October 2020, Council approved a new policy to appoint the Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem, in order to bring clarity to a process that is often politically motivated.
Per this policy, the Mayor Pro Tem automatically becomes Mayor. This would have been Nick Dunlap, although Ahmad Zahra had seniority. The Mayor Pro Tem is supposed to be chosen based on seniority (if one has not already served as Mayor). This would have been Zahra.
Council is not required to follow this policy, and again, they did not.
This was not the first time Zahra was passed over. Last year, newly-elected Nick Dunlap was chosen as Mayor Pro Tem even though Zahra had seniority.
Councilmember Jesus Silva, who nominated Zahra to serve as Mayor and himself to serve as Mayor Pro Tem (a motion voted down 3-2), gave a brief history of former councilmembers who had been bypassed in the rotation as Mayor.
Silva’s wife, State Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, was bypassed when she was on Council and had seniority to be Mayor. Prior to that, Jan Flory and Pam Keller were bypassed, although both Quirk-Silva and Flory eventually served as Mayor.
The majority of public commenters spoke in favor of following the normal policy, including some from District 5 (which Zahra represents), who said they felt they were being dismissed.
Fred Jung is Fullerton’s first Korean American Mayor.
Categories: Local News