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Eklund Primed for Fifth Stint as Novato Mayor

City Council reorganization scheduled for Tuesday evening at City Hall.

That gavel should feel comfortable in Pat Eklund's hand by now.

The veteran council member is expected to become mayor of Novato for a record fifth time Tuesday night at a council reorganization at Novato City Hall.

It's not a guarantee — there still has to be an official vote — but it's normal protocol for the mayor pro-tem to become mayor. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

The mayorship in Novato is largely ceremonial and has no additional power over other council members. The mayor presides over each council meeting, guiding the proceedings through the agenda and acting as a referee. Many official documents require the mayor's signature. Outside of the meetings, it is a hefty time commitment because of all the requests for a mayor to show up at public functions. Yet it can be a coveted position; it's not bad for one's resume.

None of the council members in Novato are full-time politicians. They get paid a stipend per meeting plus some benefits. Eklund is a manager with the Environmental Protection Agency's San Francisco office.

First elected in June 1995, Eklund first took the mayoral reins in November 1996 from then-Mayor Ernie Gray, and she served one-year terms in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Gray is the only other council member to serve as mayor four times since the city incorporated in 1960.

Denise Athas is wrapping up her first stint as mayor. Council member Jeanne MacLeamy has wielded the gavel twice before and Madeline Kellner once. Councilman Eric Lucan, the top vote getter in the November 2011 election, is finishing his "rookie year."

The terms of Athas and Eklund expire in November 2013; those of the others expire in November 2015.

Eklund will be at the helm as Novato finishes its 2007-2014 general plan update (including the controversial housing element that addresses possible locations for affordable housing), the construction of the new city administrative offices, ongoing efforts to reduce a chronic budget deficit and potential major commercial developments.

At Tuesday's meeting, there will be an election of the mayor, an election of the mayor pro-tem, a presentation of a gavel plaque to outgoing mayor Athas and remarks by Athas and the new mayor.

Who has served as Novato mayor in the past? See the attached list.

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Chester B. Henry December 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Do we all remember last year when MacLeamy and Kellner cut out Carole Dillon who was mayor pro-tem and put in her friend Denise Athas to be the third vote for them . Keep voting them into office and Novato will never change for the better
Bob December 03, 2012 at 03:42 PM
In my opinion, over the years, Pat Eklund has been a council person that most represented the citizens of Novato. Many have been in bed with the Chamber of Commerce favoring business interests and others have sided with outside organizations that have not been in the best interest of the community. If Pat is not chosen for Mayor it may be because she does represent the people.
Craig Belfor December 03, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Even though Novato's mayors are elected in a fashion, that would make Florida jealous, at least they get it right with Pat.
Steven Norwin December 03, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Looking forward to the change of the gavel and Pat Eklund as our Novato Mayor. She is the real deal!
Trish Boorstein December 03, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Pat has been an unparalleled voice for this community. I will be at the meeting to show support for her appointment tomorrow evening at 6:30. Thank you Pat for your continued commitment to our town!
Gram December 03, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Pat, You are the best!!
Dave Robertson December 03, 2012 at 08:34 PM
If our City Council stages a "coup d'etat", and pushes out Eklund for some crony within their group, then Novato has a serious problem on its hands. Once is an anomaly, but twice would be clear evidence of dirty politics. There is enough money and support in this town to stage an organized effort to remove the offenders from office over the next few years if this happens. Reelections are all about campaign dollars - and the Chamber of Commerce is not the only source of available cash within this city. Pat Eklund has seriously represented the needs and concerns of Novato's residents for many many years and it would be a serious breach of faith by the City Council to stop what should be an "automatic" appointment to the mayoral spot. Then again, as we have seen in recent years, our elected officials seem to have their own agenda - not one that matches that of this city's citizens. Good luck, Pat .... I hope your appointment goes through smoothly!
CLKO December 03, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Congratulations, Pat! (It's going to happen.) You've always done a great job for us.
M. Calwald December 03, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Pat is the only city council member who actually reads what is put in front of her and before she votes on an issue. Pat is the only council member who repeatedly sticks up for the underdog which is Novato.
Walter Shank December 04, 2012 at 03:18 AM
As the Post Commander for the American Legion Post 540 here in Novato, I would be proud to have Pat Eklund serving as Mayor once again. She has attended every Memorial Day Ceremony the American Legion has had since I've been in the post (2000) and truly represents the residents of Novato.
SamS December 04, 2012 at 06:56 PM
your statement is simply not true. Jeanne, Denise and Eric ALL read there council packets in detail as well. They do their homework just as much - if not more.... If you are going to attack someone- at least have the facts. To insinuate that the other council members do not read the reports is 100% FALSE.
Dave Robertson December 05, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Pat really cares about everyone in this city! She is an exceptional human being who makes her associates pale in comparison!
Edwin Drake December 05, 2012 at 08:36 AM
Pat is GREAT! ... but it's time to replace Athas! Who's running?
T.Sprocket December 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I am wondering why there was a concern that Eklund might have been passed over for her turn as mayor? When Dillon-Knutson was passed over for Athas, it seemed her peers didn't feel she was right for the job. There didn't seem to be any real outcry from the public either. Doesn't it seem odd to anyone that there always seems to be a rift between council members and Eklund. Not just this group but almost every past council member in recent memory who has served with her. I am friendly with an employee of the EPA and it seems the same pattern is evident there. It must be everyone else that has the problem.
Bob December 05, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Because Dillon-Knutson was passed over that it became a concern. From what I have seen Pat has represented the will of the citizens and sometimes that may ruffle the feathers of those that represent other special interest groups.

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