The La Canada Flintridge's City Council elected Councilman O. Warren Hillgren to his fifth term as mayor Monday night by a 3-2 vote.
First-term members Chris Valente and Ed Phelps voted no. They sought to install Phelps instead.
Outgoing Mayor Joan Feehan said Valente and Phelps should be patient and that their time to serve in the largely ceremonial post would come.
The mayor pro tem, Ed Krause, was first nominated for mayor by Valente, who said, "I was under the impression that the system was set up so that the mayor pro tem was next in line for mayor."
But Krause said he could do more for the city as an ordinary member of the council and nominated Hillgren.
Valente then nominated Phelps, saying that the other council members had already served as mayor and that La Canada residents were ready for a change.
Valente and Phelps defeated two long-time incumbents in April, 1988, on a campaign built around the need for change in local government.
"I would be honored to serve as mayor," Phelps said. "Everyone acknowledges that the position of mayor is ceremonial. But the message would be clear to the community that a change is occurring."
Feehan said Phelps and Valente "flat-out need some seasoning. They have not put out the time needed to see how the system works. Experience is the No. 1 requirement to serve as mayor. Warren has been elected four times. I'd like to see anyone else who's gone through what he has."
The council also elected Krause to another term as mayor pro tem.