Santa Claus

Santa Claus paid a visit to Maricopa City Hall to greet the community in front of the highly decorated Christmas tree.

Mayor Christian Price and Maricopa City Council members Marvin Brown, Nancy Smith and Julia Gusse took the oath of office Tuesday as Judge Lyle Riggs swore in the four elected officials to new terms.

Voters elected Price, who ran unopposed, to his third term as mayor and first four-year term. The Council voted to change the mayoral term from two years to four in 2014.

Incumbent Smith defeated six other challengers and won her seat outright in the August primary.

In the November General Election, voters elected Gusse and Brown over two opponents – Councilmember Bridger Kimball and former Councilmember Dan Frank, one incumbent, in the runoff election.

Brown was elected to his third term and Gusse, who served on council from 2010-2014, was elected to her second term, non-consecutive.

Council also voted 6-1 to keep Brown as vice mayor, a role which he has served in for the last two years.

Gusse was the lone dissenting vote. She said during the discussion and nomination process that it was time for a woman to be vice mayor. Gusse nominated herself for vice mayor during her first term on Council, but the motion died because it never received a second.

With three women on the City Council now, Gusse said the public has spoken and shown it is ready for a female vice mayor.

Council member Peggy Chapados won her election outright in the 2014 primary, Gusse added, which started this movement.

“Fast forward to this election cycle, Councilmember Smith also won her election outright in the primary over six opponents,” Gusse explained. “Come to my election in the General Election and I beat out an incumbent by more than 1,000 votes and another incumbent by more than 2,300 votes. We are making history tonight with three females on City Council.”

Price suggested changing the vice mayor’s term from two years to one, similar to how many other cities do it. He said that would foster new leadership and different voices every 12 months.

One idea thrown out was to have the vice mayor position serve as a rotating position, but Price worried about it going to someone who doesn’t necessarily want the job.

Councilmember Vincent Manfredi admitted he would be one that would not want the job, and approved of the job Brown has done for the last two years.

“Vice mayor isn’t just a title, you have to be there when I can’t be there,” Mayor Price said. “You have to show up for things when I cannot because the mayor gets pulled in six different directions so you have to spread the workload here.

“There has been a ton I’ve asked the vice mayor to do in my stead and I don’t think he’s once failed us there,” he continued. “I agree with Councilmember Gusse but I also agree with Vice Mayor Brown and Councilmember [Henry] Wade. Brown does have the time and the desire and I think that’s a good thing.”

Wade said Brown has done a good job representing the city. Wade nominated Brown to retain his vice mayor title for one year. Manfredi provided a second to the motion.

The motion passed before Gusse could nominate either herself or another councilmember.

“[Brown] has the time, opportunity, inclination and desire to continue to be vice mayor,” said Wade, who supported the one-year term for vice mayor but wanted Brown to continue at least for 2017.

The Council decided to evaluate and vote on a new vice mayor at the first meeting of every December going forward.

Smith and Chapados both liked the one-year vice mayoral term as well.

“I think it does challenge us as council members, it’s an opportunity for each of us to take on more responsibility,” Chapados said. “I also think it’s important to you, Mayor, to have a second person you can expose to different opportunities that has had different experiences.”