The City Council has selected Councilman Wallace Emory to serve a one-year term as mayor.
Emory, however, did not win the unanimous endorsement of his colleagues. Councilwoman Dorothy Cohen opposed his appointment and Councilman Harry Knapp abstained.
As mayor, the 58-year-old paper company employee will be in the forefront of South Pasadena's fight against the proposed Long Beach Freeway extension that would slice the community in half.
"I want to serve South Pasadena and I want to maintain as best we can this community so we can pass it on to our children," he said.
Emory, a former reserve police commander, said he believes in the community's sense of tradition.
"I attended South Pasadena schools from kindergarten to 12th grade, was in the local Boy Scouts and played football for the high school team," he said.
The council Wednesday also selected Councilman David Saeta as mayor pro tem.