Newport Beach City Council Selects New Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem for 2024

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Mayor Pro Tem Joe Stapleton, Mayor Will O’Neill, Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Rosansky. Photo by Jim Collins

During the Newport Beach City Council’s annual reorganization on Tuesday, Dec. 12, council members selected Will O’Neill, who served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2023, to serve as Newport Beach’s mayor for 2024. O’Neill represents District 7.

Joe Stapleton, who was elected to the City Council in 2022, will serve as mayor pro tem in 2024. Stapleton represents District 1.

O’Neill was elected to the Council in 2016 and re-elected in 2020. He previously served as mayor in 2020 and mayor pro tem in 2018 and 2019 in addition to 2023.

At the council meeting, O’Neill noted that when he was first selected to be mayor in 2020, he had set goals not knowing that 2020 would prove to be a challenging year due to the pandemic. Fortunately, noted O’Neill, “we are Newport Beach, and we remain a beacon of good government.”

O’Neill said he had originally declared 2020 the “Year of the Helper,” and that year did indeed show a spirit of volunteerism in our city.

“That spirit was crystalized when I read a biography of Mr. Rogers,” said O’Neill. “One of his most favorite quotes came in response to an interviewer asking how he handles the hard realities of this world. He responded that when he was a boy he would see scary things in the news, and his mother would say ‘look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.’ Here in Newport Beach, we have a lot of helpers.”

With that idea, continued O’Neill, “I would like to recognize someone with a ceremony that has not happened before. Tonight, we are going to give a key to the city to someone who exemplifies what it means to be a helper.”

The Newport Beach City Council presented a key to the city to local businessman Mario Marovic (center).

That person, explained O’Neill, is someone who has invested in businesses, who lives in Newport Beach, someone who had been threatened by the restaurant closures in March 2020 yet still found a way to help his employees and low-income seniors.

“He’s someone who came from humble beginnings but learned through his immigrant parents the hard work ethic that led to him being named Newport Beach businessman of the year last year. It is my honor to present the key to the city to Mario Marovic.

“I am speechless, I had no idea this was happening,” said Marovic when he came up to accept the honor. “With the trials of getting through 2020 and how scary everything was, there is one thing we know: in times of adversity people come together and rise to the challenge. This city has strong leadership and stability. My entire family lives I Newport Beach. We are very appreciative of being here. Thank you all for your commitment.”

After the short city council meeting, everyone went to the Back Bay Bistro at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort for the annual Mayor’s Reception, hosted by the Commodore’s Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of commerce.

Several hundred business leaders and other VIPs enjoyed a buffet dinner followed by remarks from outgoing Mayor Noah Blom, Mayor O’Neill and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Stapleton.

Noah Blom at the Mayor’s Reception. Photo by Chris Trela

“I am being deposed, but I am being deposed for some great people,” quipped Blom. “It’s been fun. That’s one of the most important things to bring to anything, you should have a good time doing it. Bring your own personal style and energy to it. Every member of our council has their own style that they bring, and that’s what makes good government. It’s about having your own ideals and fighting for them. The seven of us have done an amazing job this last year making that happen.”

“Tonight is about celebrating Newport Beach,” said Stapleton after he was introduced by Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Rosansky. “Noah, you were one hell of a mayor, thank you for your service. Thank you to all the city council members. Thank you to city staff, we are so fortunate to have the best staff in the country. Thank you Julie, my best friend and my fiancé. Mayor O’Neill has been mayor or mayor pro tem five years. As (former mayor) Rush Hill would say, we are going to make you do it until you get it right.”

Will O’Neill at the Mayor’s Reception. Photo by Chris Trela

O’Neill told the attendees that “this is the fifth time I have addressed the group. A lot of you have watched my kids grow up. Four years ago I talked about goals and had no idea what the future would bring, but I knew whatever it was the city could handle it, and the city did handle it. We have a healthy dose of perseverance. I had called 2020 the year of the volunteer. Wewe are a blessed community, and I want to continue to recognize volunteerism in 2024. You always find people who are helping. Ask people to bring forward the helpers. The behind-the-scenes folks, running toward danger, the helpers. We will be recognizing them and thanking them.”

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Stapleton with his fiancé Julie Jacobs, Jenny O’Neill with husband Mayor Will O’Neill. Photo by Chris Trela

 

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