Bever named new Costa Mesa mayor

City Councilman Eric Bever was unanimously selected as Costa Mesa's newest mayor Tuesday afternoon during a special council meeting.

Bever has been on the council since 2004 and is termed out after November. He replaces Gary Monahan, who announced last week that he intended to step down from his mayoral duties.

"It's some big shoes to fill. I'll do my best to do just that," Bever said.

In his eight years on the council, Bever has been a reliably fiscal conservative. He voted against employee contract amendments in 2010, which the current council majority blames for the city's mounting employee costs. The contracts increased employee contributions to their pensions, but not for the life of the contracts.

"It was a lonely time in 2010, being the only guy in the middle of the battlefield running in that direction, but I think we've made a lot of headway, and I'll continue to do that with your support," Bever told his colleagues.

This is the second time Monahan has stepped down, only to see Bever take his position.

In 2005, Monahan resigned as mayor pro tem, citing other commitments. Bever was picked to take his place. Monahan, who owns a local bar, will remain on the council and has said he will run for reelection in November.

Though the vote was unanimous, Councilwoman Wendy Leece said she had reservations about Bever's commitment.

"I'm taken aback a little bit, to be honest with you," she said. "Though I respect Mr. Bever, I've been disappointed he hasn't had a very good attendance at meetings that have been crucial."

Bever has missed more council meetings than any other council member in the past year, including Monahan, who said the mayoral responsibilities were too demanding for him. Bever also missed numerous community and media events, including a press conference last March after a city worker jumped to his death from atop City Hall.

"I hope that we can, within the next few months or year, bring everybody on the same page and get down the road with some good financial plans," Bever said.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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