'GUIDING PRINCIPLES' INCLUDE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, TRANSPARENCY
By Steven Tavares
Mayor-elect Stephen Cassidy was sworn-in as San Leandro's eighth elected leader since 1962 Monday night in the aftermath of a tense debate on the issue upon which his successful campaign was based.
Cassidy laid out a mix of budgetary responsibility and government transparency to the large gathering at the San Leandro City Hall chambers. His address took place after the City Council approved two city employee contracts which Cassidy had criticized for the potential to worsen the city's financial situation as he takes office Jan. 1.
"My goal is to be a mayor for everyone," said Cassidy, who later acknowledged, "I recognize that this office belongs to you. I have a four-year lease on it." Cassidy won an uncommonly brutal election season that featured the first-time use of ranked-choice voting. Although he did not finish with the most first-place votes, he secondary support among voters delivered a narrow victory over Mayor Tony Santos last month.
In his remarks, Cassidy thanked the departing mayor for his service and accomplishments over the years, primarily his work in controlling airplane noise near the Oakland Airport. Santos, though, did not refer to Cassidy Monday night and has maintained he will never concede the election.
Cassidy laid out what he termed his, "guiding principles" for running the city the next four years. He vowed to "restore city to fiscal health" while specifying it be done without dipping into its already scant rainy day fund. "Revenues equal operational expenditures and not the use of reserves," Cassidy said. He also called for the use of multi-year budget forecasts and twice-monthly finance committee meetings until the budget situation improves.
Openness would appear to big a major portion of Cassidy's plans as mayor. Cassidy told residents he intends to "speak truthfully," "lead by example," and "communicate with respect." Partnering with the city's struggling business landscape will also be focus for Cassidy, he said. He hopes to develop a sorely-needed strategic plan to grow and attract commerce. Referring, in part, to the future Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Leandro, Cassidy said "we need to leverage those assets" to better the city.
Cassidy, whose political background consists of four years on the San Leandro School Board, said he aims to open a more robust working relationship with the school district. "I want to end the dialogue I hear of 'your kids.' No, these are 'our' children," said Cassidy. "We have a responsibility to provide the best education we can."
San Leandro Mayors
Mayor-elect Cassidy become the eighth directly elected mayor in San Leandro history. Before 1962, the city council elected its leader. Here is the list of recent mayors and the years they served.
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