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There's a new mayor in town, sort of

Posted: December 5, 2008 9:43 p.m.
Updated: December 6, 2008 4:59 a.m.

Santa Clarita City Councilman Frank Ferry will become mayor Tuesday. The principal of Bishop Alemany High School last served in the position in 2004. The position rotates yearly among the five City Council members.

 
Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Ferry will be sworn in as Santa Clarita's new mayor on Tuesday, and he already has his eye on the troubled economy's impact on Santa Clarita, running efficient City Council meetings and connecting with local youth.

The Valencia resident was first elected to the council in 1998 and will replace Mayor Bob Kellar for one year.
Ferry, 43, plans to appoint Councilwoman Laurene Weste as mayor pro-tem.

Despite the impact of a national recession, Santa Clarita is doing better than other cities.

"We're very conservative during good times," he said Thursday, adding that the city is not cutting back and continues to spend cautiously.

However, he recognizes the slowdown of major businesses in Santa Clarita, like the numerous auto dealers, which have seen a 35- to 50-percent decline in auto sales, he said.

Sales tax revenue and vehicle licensing fees benefit city programs and services.

"That definitely hits our disposable income we have for the general fund," he said.

But for retail sales tax dollars, Ferry sees a different situation.

While local branches of major chains like Mervyns LLC are going out of business, Ferry said enough new stores and retail centers, like The Plaza at Golden Valley, have opened to create new opportunities.

Since the city's mayor presides over the council meetings and serves as a spokesperson for the council,

Ferry wants to make sure the council members' time is used wisely.

"I'm a big efficiency guy when it comes to the council's time," he said.

While he appreciates residents attending council meetings to voice their concerns, he recognizes a need for action by the council.

"For me as a mayor, it's a willingness to make a decision and move on," he said.

But as many hours as a job like mayor requires, Ferry is pleased with the appointment.

"At this time in my life with two sons, this is the perfect place for me," he said.

That's because unlike politicians serving on the state and federal level, Ferry said he gets to see a product at the end of the day.

Ferry, who serves as principal of Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, said he hopes to initiate programs to get teens more interested in City Hall.

Ferry also wants to build on the strengths of the four other council members.

"You don't want any one of them to lose their passion," he said.

As mayor for 2008, Kellar faced what he considered a busy year.

"It was an absolute full-time job this time," said Kellar, who served as mayor in 2004.

Regardless of being the mayor for Los Angeles County's fourth-largest city, Kellar considered his position to be a "privilege."

"I honestly feel good about my entire year as mayor and in working with the city," he said Friday.

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