Councilman Chris Norby, who lost a bid for an Assembly seat five months ago, has been chosen to be the city's mayor for the coming year.
Norby, 46, took the reins from Julie Sa, who led the city through a contentious year in which Fullerton repealed a hotly debated utility tax and approved the controversial Highland Avenue underpass project.
"It was a tough haul," John Song, a member of the Korean American Assn. of Orange County, told Sa at Tuesday's City Council meeting. "But the community appreciates your support."
Representatives of various community groups, including the Fullerton Republican Women's Club, the district office of Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), the Southern California Korean Chinese Assn., council colleagues and others echoed Song and presented Sa, 44, with flower bouquets, plaques and a wooden gavel.
Norby, who often cast the lone dissenting vote on redevelopment and low-income-housing projects, praised Sa for her leadership style. "You handled the mayorship with aplomb," he told Sa.
In July, Norby, who has been on the City Council since 1984, ran for the 72nd Assembly District seat left vacant by Ross Johnson when he was elected to the state Senate. Former Fullerton Mayor Richard Ackerman won that race.
Norby, a history teacher at Brea Olinda High School, served as mayor in 1991 and was mayor pro tem this year.