The Los Altos City Council Nov. 26 voted unanimously to return Councilwoman Megan Satterlee to a role she’s held before – mayor.
Satterlee, who previously served as mayor in 2009, took the seat occupied by Councilman Jarrett Fishpaw the past year. Satterlee then nominated Councilwoman Jan Pepper as the city’s new mayor pro tem.
Following tradition, Fishpaw and Satterlee presented each other with engraved medals. Fishpaw – who at 25 became the city’s youngest mayor a year ago – handed Satterlee the key to the city, telling her jokingly that it “didn’t fit on my key ring.”
With son Wardin accompanying her on the dais, Satterlee thanked her husband and fellow councilmembers for their support and pledged to run “efficient and effective” council meetings. She also called for open dialogue with the public and creating an atmosphere “where councilmembers are open to each other’s ideas and where we move forward (on areas) where we have common agendas.”
Satterlee later told the Town Crier that she sees the council’s annual retreat, scheduled Dec. 14, as the initial opportunity to discuss and formulate common goals and objectives for the city in 2014.
“A member of the public said to me today, ‘Don’t try to do everything poorly. Try and do a couple of things well,’” Satterlee said. “So the question we’ll have to answer on the 14th is: Are there a couple of things we all want to do well or are we spreading ourselves thin because our interests are spread thin?”
Satterlee noted that this year’s retreat would likely be a two-part process that includes the use of an outside facilitator. While the council is slated to discuss a host of pressing city issues and formulate its 2014 goals, it will also spend time during the daylong session “gaining a better understanding of each other’s styles so that, again, we can collaborate more effectively and efficiently,” she said.
She also noted a personal focus on transportation issues “in the broadest possible sense,” citing safety issues for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, as well as traffic-calming and congestion concerns in some parts of the city.
Reflecting on his year as mayor, Fishpaw noted that while the functions are ceremonial in nature, being at the helm of a city presented a “learning curve” and left him with a deeper appreciation for the role overall.
“It is challenging sometimes, because there are expectations that people have that the mayor can fix, change or do anything,” he said. “That’s really not the case – you’re always working with the rest of your council to build consensus.”
Pepper, meanwhile, told those in attendance that she remains committed to the principles she set forth during her election campaign in 2012. She pointed specifically to her commitment to transparent and inclusive governance, open and respectful dialogue with residents and environmental sustainability.
Like Satterlee, Pepper said the council’s upcoming retreat could serve as an opportunity to set a collaborative tone for the upcoming year.
“We’ve worked together for a year now, so we know each other a little better,” she said. “Hopefully, we can really coalesce as a group and figure out how to get some things done together.”