Today, well wishers, the media and family members from as far away as Aspen, Greece gathered to welcome the change of the guard in Fresno's leadership. At the first council meeting of the year, the City Clerk swore in Council members Andreas Boregas and Lee Brand along with Mayor Ashley Swearengin. In a capacity filled chamber, Brian Calhoun, Jerry Duncan and now former-Mayor Alan Autry also said farewell and thanked their colleagues, staff and the residents of Fresno for the opportunity to serve.
In her usual get-down-to-business fashion, Mayor Swearingin took the opportunity to speak about her plans for her first 100 days in office. Of the number of task and initiatives she plans to employ immediately, here a few I found interesting:
- Conduct a city efficiency analysis. This would be an update to a 2002 report comparing our city service to like cities
- An in-depth department evaluation. Along with this evaluation, department are being asked to present budget scenarios with 4 and 8 percent reductions for the upcoming 2009-20 fiscal year.
- Revamping and refocus of economic development department to the Downtown & Community Revitalization Department. Announce of the changes and its team was presented last week in a press conference at the Holiday Inn's Sky Room.
- Revising and simplifying the city's procurement process that will favor local businesses
- Partnering with community initiatives to increase resident's awareness and access to free earned income tax credit (EITC) services in the city.
- Establishing the Fresno Citizens Academy, a voluntary program to educate and engage citizen leaders
Kudos the Mayor for demonstrating political class by recognizing her former campaign opponent and current council member, Henry T. Perea for his service while voicing her willingness to work with him.
In addition, the Council elected Councilmember Cynthia Sterling as the first African-American and woman to hold the position of Council President. The Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) presented flowers to both Sterling and Swearengin.