HAWAIIAN GARDENS : Mayor Leaves Post for Health Reasons

Hawaiian Gardens Mayor Robert J. Prida resigned last week from his position as head of the City Council, apparently for health reasons, but will remain on the five-member board, he said.

Minutes after Prida announced his resignation at a special meeting July 14, the council voted 3 to 2 to appoint Councilwoman Kathleen Navejas to replace him. The Hawaiian Gardens mayor is appointed from within the council each year by a majority vote of members.

Prida's voice broke as he read a brief prepared statement, saying that his doctor advised him to step down to reduce stress. Prida said his doctor had told him to stay on the council because of the "positive job I am doing for the city."

He refused to answer any questions after the meeting. "You heard my statement, and that's all I have to say about it," Prida said.

Prida, a custodian for the ABC Unified School District, was elected to a four-year council term in 1992 and appointed mayor in April. As mayor, he chaired the City Council meetings and served as the city representative on county and state committees.

Navejas, a veteran council member, served as mayor from April, 1992, to April, 1994. She was also mayor from 1987 through 1989, city officials said.

Councilman Robert G. Canada will take over Navejas' position as mayor pro-tem, the council decided.

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