Seyarto, Lane sworn in for city council; Gibbs now mayor

Kelly Seyarto is sworn in by city clerk Jane Halstead at Tuesday night's Murrieta City Council meeting. Photos courtesy of Kassen Kle...

Kelly Seyarto is sworn in by city clerk Jane Halstead at Tuesday night's Murrieta City Council meeting.
Photos courtesy of Kassen Klein

Kelly Seyarto and Randon Lane were sworn in for four-year terms on the Murrieta City Council during Tuesday night's meeting at City Hall.

Seyarto, who served on the City Council from 1997-2006 and was mayor three times, returns to the council after receiving 23 percent of the 41,820 votes cast in the Nov. 8 election. That was second to Lane, who kept his council seat by receiving 26 percent of the votes among six candidates. Lane just completed his second appointment as mayor this year.

Following the traditional rotation of council members in the mayor's position, Rick Gibbs was appointed mayor and Jonathan Ingram mayor pro tem by a vote of the council.

"I am humbled by the support I got," Seyarto said after taking his seat on the dais. "Residents, I hear your voices loud and clear about what kind of representative you want up here.

"Sometimes the city council has been less than a working bunch. Sometimes it's been a 3-cylinder engine. But with this council, I see a 5-cylinder engine ready to work together, with a staff ready to respond."

Seyarto is filling the seat vacated by Harry Ramos, who finished last among the six candidates with only 8 percent of the votes. Ramos has been the subject of controversy since June of 2015, when the City Council authorized an independent investigation into allegations of misconduct and sexual advances by Ramos, which he denied.

On July 24, 2015, a woman filed a lawsuit against Ramos, alleging that he sexually assaulted her outside a Chamber of Commerce mixer the previous January. Five days later, the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce suspended Ramos' membership. And on Oct. 8, 2015, the city council voted 4-0 to remove Ramos from the mayor's position.

That action did not remove Ramos from his council seat, however. On Aug. 16 of this year, he filed a lawsuit against the City of Murrieta, seeking a mandate to overturn the council's decision to remove him as mayor.

Ramos attended Tuesday night's meeting and accepted a plaque of recognition from Lane prior to the swearing in of Seyartos. Given an opportunity to speak, Ramos thanked his family, his supporters and members of city staff. The only people he did not thank were his council colleagues.

During council member reports before the close of the meeting, council member Alan Long alluded to past council member differences when welcoming Seyarto back to the dais.

"I would challenge us all to constructively listen to each other and act as a council should, with five minds coming together to make one person's idea much better," Long said. "I don't feel we did that all the time in recent history, but I can without equivocation say that I believe we will do that moving forward."

Lane thanked all those who supported him during his year as mayor and acknowledged the many people who called and emailed him with concerns and praise.

"I truly believe every citizen has the right to pick up the phone and speak to their elected representative," Lane said. "This council has always been engaged to make Murrieta a better community."

Randon Lane is sworn in for another term on the Murrieta City Council.


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