City Council to select new mayor, swear in new council

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

Santa Clarita City Council members are set to make big transitions Tuesday with the naming of a new mayor, the goodbye of longtime Councilman Bob Kellar and a welcome to newcomer Jason Gibbs. 

The changes have been scheduled during a 5 p.m. special meeting at City Hall before its regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m., according to a city agenda report. Incumbent Mayor Cameron Smyth and councilman-elect Gibbs will be sworn into office each for a four-year term. 

With an 85% voter turnout in Santa Clarita this election, Smyth secured his reelection early on in November after having earned 31.26% of the vote, or more than 56,900 votes — the most a city council candidate has received in Santa Clarita. Gibbs, who led just ahead of Kelvin Driscoll, came in second with 16.19% (29,474), earning his spot as Kellar’s replacement. 

Kellar, who had endorsed Gibbs early on during his campaign trail, is expected to issue remarks after serving the city for more than 19 years. 

Smyth is also expected to wrap up his fourth term as mayor with commentary before a new mayor is chosen via a nomination and voting process by the current council. 

Traditionally, the council chooses the mayor pro-tem as the new mayor. Current Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Miranda is poised to receive the title, as well as become Santa Clarita’s first Latino mayor. Council members could still vote differently, however. The tradition was briefly at question for the 2019 title when Kellar nominated Smyth and McLean, who was then mayor pro-tem, nominated herself. After a heated back-and-forth among the council, McLean was named mayor that year and Smyth as mayor pro-tem. 

The special meeting is expected to follow a closed session at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday where the council will discuss pending litigation regarding COVID-19-related eviction bans. 

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