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Muldoon is unanimous choice for Newport Beach mayor

New Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon, center, is congratulated by council members as he takes his seat at Newport Beach City Hall on Tuesday.

New Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon, center, is congratulated by council members as he takes his seat at Newport Beach City Hall on Tuesday.

(Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot)

The Newport Beach City Council handily chose a new mayor from among its ranks Tuesday, and the first thing he said after sitting in the center seat was, “I like it.”

Kevin Muldoon, who had been the mayor pro tem for the last year, was unanimously chosen for the position, which lasts for one year and is largely ceremonial. He replaced outgoing Mayor Diane Dixon.

Marshall “Duffy” Duffield was chosen for mayor pro tem with a unanimous vote.

Both nominations came quickly and with no discussion.

Muldoon, a former Orange County deputy district attorney who represents District 4, was first elected in 2014 on the “Team Newport” slate, which also included Duffield.

In a prepared speech, Muldoon called the city’s unfunded pension liability — which he estimated at more than $300 million — as the city’s “most pressing issue.”

New Mayor Pro Tem Marshall "Duffy" Duffield, left, is congratulated on his new council position by new Mayor Kevin Muldoon at Newport Beach City Hall on Tuesday.

New Mayor Pro Tem Marshall “Duffy” Duffield, left, is congratulated on his new council position by new Mayor Kevin Muldoon at Newport Beach City Hall on Tuesday.

(Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot)

“This council must be disciplined,” Muldoon said of its taxpayer spending.

He added that City Hall must hold back on funding for new facilities or what he called other “nonessential capital projects.”

Muldoon said he wants to introduce an amendment to the city charter that will require a majority of residents to approve the city issuing debt. The matter may come to city voters in the 2018 general election, he said.

Muldoon said he also wants to see Planning Commission meetings taped — currently they are not — and see the city invest in traffic technology.

“To each and every resident in the city, it is the honor of a lifetime to serve as your mayor,” Muldoon concluded. “I thank you for that opportunity.”

Newcomer council members Brad Avery, Jeff Herdman and Will O’Neill also took their oaths of office.

The trio thanked their supporters and families.

O’Neill was sworn in by his father, Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill of the U.S. District Court’s Eastern District of California, based in Fresno.

“Having my dad swear me in is a memory that will be etched into my mind for the rest of my life,” O’Neill said of the experience.

In his remarks, City Manager Dave Kiff thanked departing council members Tony Petros, Keith Curry and Ed Selich.

“There is no better researcher in the room than Ed Selich,” Kiff said, saying that if city staff said something worked in 25 cities, Selich would find 15 where it didn’t and knew why. Selich served on the council beginning in 2005 and on the Planning Commission for a decade before that. He never missed a single meeting on either body throughout either time.

Kiff credited Petros, who served one four-year term, with seeing things from the staff’s perspective and not being afraid to help with little things, from packing up chairs to serving food at the OASIS Senior Center.

Kiff complimented Curry, who first joined the council in 2006, for its “remarkable skill for bringing people together.”

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @BradleyZint


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