Union Staff Report
CITY HALL – In a brief ceremony attended by students of Arcata Elementary School and Sunny Brae Middle School this morning in Council Chamber, Arcata Mayor Shane Brinton relinquished the City Council's top post and was replaced in that role by Mayor Mark Wheetley.
The council vote, made on a motion by City Councilmember Alex Stillman, was passed unanimously – but with a condition.
In making the motion, Stillman has sought assurance that Wheetley would be comfortable with Councilmember Susan Ornelas continuing as Arcata's liaison to the Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG).
HCAOG is attempting to establish a regional trail system and Arcata-to-Eureka link, something Ornelas and her husband, former Councilmember and bicycling enthusiast Bob Ornelas, are keenly interested in.
Wheetley said that continuity is important, and that he would support Ornelas's continuing service in that role. His election by the council was followed by the election of Michael Winkler as vice mayor, a post held by Wheetley.
The mayor's duties include running council meetings, assembling the agenda with the city manager, various ceremonial rites and acting as a spokesperson for the City of Arcata. Wheetley last held the mayoral post in 2008/9.