Plenty of tears and laughter were shared by all inside the Burbank Council chambers Tuesday morning as a new mayor and vice mayor were named.
Council members unanimously voted to have Councilwomen Emily Gabel-Luddy and Sharon Springer serve as mayor and vice mayor, respectively, over the next year.
Gabel-Luddy, who was vice mayor for the past year and more recently mayor pro-tem since the passing of the late Will Rogers, will again be at the helm of the council. She last served as mayor in 2013.
It is the first time for Springer, a second-year council member, to be appointed as vice mayor.
The newly appointed mayor made it clear that she and her colleagues need to continue focusing on the five goals they set for themselves last year.
Gabel-Luddy said the City Council needs to concentrate on the recurring budget deficit Burbank is expected to face over the next five years. Additionally, she said council members need to keep finding ways to address affordable housing, sustain economic development, remain transparent with residents and alleviate parking issues and traffic congestion.
“We are capable of putting our shoulders to the wheel and continuing to push forward for a sustainable Burbank and enforce the same kind of services that we’ve enjoyed in the past going forward into the future for our entire community,” Gabel-Luddy said.
Springer said she will work hard to continue making progress on the city’s goals.
The reorganization meeting was also an opportunity for city officials to pay their respects to Rogers, who died on April 19 after battling stage 4 liver cancer.
Per the meeting’s tradition, the outgoing mayor typically gives council colleagues and staff members a gift. However, Rogers decided before his death to change that tradition a bit.
Instead of a direct gift to the City Council, Rogers opted to donate $500 on behalf of his colleagues to Donate Life California, a nonprofit that manages an organ registry in the state.
As a sign of solidarity to Rogers’ wishes, each council member and department head wore a lapel pin bearing the nonprofit’s logo on their left sides.
In addition to Rogers’ donation, City Clerk Zizette Mullins said city employees were able to raise a little more than $1,000 for Donate Life California.
City officials also presented a few gifts to Nancie Rogers, Will Rogers’ wife. She received her husband’s gavel and a photo book filled with candid shots of him during his year as mayor.