Seats shifted in council chambers Tuesday as councilman Rush Hill was elected as mayor for the upcoming year.
Ed Selich was elected mayor pro tem. Both were nominated by another council member and then unanimously approved by the rest of the council for their new positions.
“It truly is an honor and a pleasure to serve as mayor of this incredible city,” Hill said.
Hill, the city’s 45th mayor, said it is a privilege and an honor to serve as mayor and he is looking forward to the upcoming year.
“I look at this coming year as a year to celebrate,” Hill said. “To rejoice over our successes in shaping this shining city on the bay that offers us all a high quality of life.”
He presented Curry with a gavel plaque for his service as mayor this past year.
“I think being mayor of Newport Beach is the greatest job in the world,” Curry said.
During his outgoing speech, Curry called 2013 a “transformational” year, saying it changed how the city is going to move forward in the future.
Locally, he mentioned the new civic center and park, library expansions, public safety and crime rates, city budget, economic climate, trash outsourcing, dredging the harbor, sunset ridge park and marina park, infrastructure, John Wayne Airport, city charter changes and more.
He briefly noted a few state issues, including the prison realignment program.
Curry recently announced plans to run for California Assembly in the 74th district.
Hill also said a few words, thanking his family, fellow council members, many members of city staff and the public.
“Together, we are a team,” he said about his council colleagues. “As you have seen, not always agreeing, certainly not being extremists, but we will come together to compromise to move the important agendas forward.”
Hill got a little emotional when he thanked Alan Limon, who worked as a project manager at Newport Resource Management, Inc., with Hill, served as his chief of staff and coordinated Hill’s 2010 campaign.
“If it were not for Alan Limon, I probably would not be here tonight,” he said as he got choked up. “I thank him.”
The city, while strong, can’t rest, he continued. They must focus on important issues like the airport, providing quality municipal services while containing the growth of government, bay and ocean water issues, visitors, parks, and senior services.
“It’s these items that I will keep us focused on in 2014,” Hill said.
Remaining at the status quo is “not an option,” he said.
“If you don’t go forward, you fall behind,” Hill said.
He is honored to serve on the council and now as mayor, he said.
“This truly is a wonderful place to live, yet there is always room for improvement,” Hill said. “We’re going to strive to be better and that is what I’m going to do while I’m mayor.”