A week after Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews’ abrupt resignation, the City Council appointed his successor: Lisa Gillmor.
“Congratulations, Lisa Gillmor, new mayor,” Vice Mayor Teresa O’Neill said after announcing the unanimous vote.
Gillmor was elected to the council in 2012, a year after she was appointed to finish out Matthews’ term when he was elected mayor. The lifelong Santa Clara resident had previously served on the council and also served on the city’s Parks Commission.
Council colleagues and residents applauded Gillmor’s record of public service, calling her the “smart choice” for mayor. Councilman Dominic Caserta said she could help unite a divided council.
“Lisa, you are a passionate defender of every cause you believe in,” Caserta said, adding that he “enthusiastically” seconded Councilman Pat Kolstad’s motion to appoint her. “You love our city. I really believe this is an opportunity for us to come together. That doesn’t mean we’ll always agree, but civility is something I look forward to.”
Gillmor took over for Matthews, who shocked the city by resigning with more than two years left to his term the day after his city hosted Super Bowl 50. Santa Clara City Hall has been beset by conflict over the city’s relationship with the San Francisco 49ers.
A few months ago Gillmor called for an independent audit of the city’s Stadium Authority, which oversees Levi’ Stadium (home of the San Francisco 49ers), to make sure that public money isn’t subsidizing the private venue. The Stadium Authority is also being investigated by the civil grand jury.
A key issue, noted in a San Jose Inside report the week of the Super Bowl, has been the secrecy between city officials and representatives of the 49ers.
After being sworn in, Gillmor vowed to use her position to improve transparency. “We can’t make decisions in a back room,” she said. “We need to do it in public.”
With Gillmor at the helm, the city will now have to find someone to fill her council seat. Click here to watch video of the Wednesday council meeting.