It was a night of thankfulness, a little looking back and plenty of gazing into the future, as there was a changing of the guard in the Escalon City Council Chambers on Monday night, Dec. 17.
Longtime councilman Danny Fox was recognized for his years of service, not only to the council, but also first as a member of the city’s police department. Fox himself shared that when he originally decided to run for the council, it was back in 2004 and he had to go on the ballot as a write-in. He did not win that year but fell less than 150 votes short of securing a seat.
Two years later, in 2006, he was the top vote getter in the race for seats on the council and in 2010, he won reelection. He was re-appointed in 2014, as there were three seats open and only three candidates. This year, in 2018, he decided to step down, noting he is a believer in term limits.
“It’s just time for me to step aside,” Fox told a large crowd in the council chambers on Monday night. “Time for new ideas, new blood. It has been a pleasure and a joy, an educational experience over the last decade.”
He encouraged everyone on the council and within the city to keep working together to move the city forward and was presented with a plaque of appreciation from the city by Mayor Jeff Laugero as well as one from the office of Assemblyman Heath Flora, presented by Field Representative Jason Laughlin.
Fox officially stepped down from the dais – although he urged incoming Mayor Robert Swift to be sure to appoint “a barista” to help the council through closed sessions.
Then it was on to the swearing in of those elected to serve the city for the next four years, with incumbent Ed Alves and Robert Swift earning re-election and Peter Krumeich earning his first term on the panel. City Manager Tammy Alcantor administered the oath of office and the meeting resumed.
Laugero nominated Swift to serve as mayor and it was approved 5-0; Ed Alves was selected as the mayor pro tem, also with a 5-0 vote.
In council comments, Walt Murken said he has been asked about whether the city could designate a ‘Purple Heart’ parking spot and the issue will be investigated.
New councilman Krumeich thanked Fox for his service to the community and also told those on hand for the session that he is excited to start his term.
“I consider this opportunity to be an honor and a privilege,” Krumeich said. “Over the next four years, I will give my best effort.”
Outgoing mayor Laugero congratulated Swift on succeeding him in the role.
“He is the perfect representative for this community,” Laugero said. “He’s committed to this town, to the people who live here, the people who come through here. In my time as mayor, it was a great honor to represent the city … it’s a nice feeling to see things moving in the right direction.”
Mayor pro tem Alves added that Laugero also served the city well and “has done a job that should be commended” for the city.
Swift said he would work hard to continue the forward momentum the city has gained over the last few years.
“We all love this little town, want to do the best we can for it,” Swift said. “Councilman Laugero, you’re going to be a very tough act to follow ... you are a true leader.”
Swift also noted that he had prepared a lengthy statement to read but opted to forego it, with several children in the audience that might not appreciate having to sit there for a long time.
An excerpt from the statement follows:
“Our City has done a lot of heavy lifting in this past decade, addressing serious issues such as budget deficits, enterprise fund fee increases, and search for police chiefs and city managers while on a tight budget, to name a few. Those challenges have been met, and we are now looking forward to a time where we will be planning forward to keep Escalon the community as well know it well into this century.”
The Dec. 17 council meeting was the final one of the calendar year and was a ‘feel good’ session for all, with congratulations for the work done by Fox and excitement for those taking up new roles to move the city forward.