A newly elected Merced mayor and three newly elected City Council members took their seats on the dais at City Hall on Monday night.
Mayor Matthew Serratto — the former councilman who represented District 5 up until this month — was sworn in to a four-year mayoral term — a historic first after voters decided in 2018 to extend the mayor’s term by two years.
Meanwhile, Jesse Ornelas (District 1), Bertha Perez (District 2) and Sarah Boyle (District 5) took the Oath of Office for the first time.
After everybody took their new seats, Mayor Serratto reminded his new colleagues: “Sometimes we’re going to have spirited debates, but at the end of the day we’re all part of the same team.”
The new members join Fernando Echevarria (District 2), Kevin Blake (District 4) and Delray Shelton (District 6), who are already on the council.
In his first official action as mayor, Serratto nominated Blake as the new mayor pro tem for the next year. The rest of the council unanimously agreed.
The pomp and circumstance also included a farewell to outgoing Mayor Mike Murphy, along with City Council members Anthony Martinez and Jill McLeod.
Blake told Murphy: “We’ve spent the last seven years together … When you began, you really brought a level of professionalism to this council that I hadn’t seen up to that point. And you maintained it the whole time.”
And Serratto said a special goodbye to both Martinez and McLeod together since they all were first elected together back in 2016.
He said: “It’s difficult to be in closed session all the time, dealing with difficult issues — issues that sometimes we are not going to see eye to eye on — and never once did any of us lose any respect for one another … It was always professional and always constructive. And I think our class, 2016, did great work.”