By Barbara Wood
Cary Wiest, elected a little more than a year ago to the Atherton City Council, was chosen by his fellow council members at their Dec. 18 meeting to serve as mayor for the next year, with just-elected Rick DeGolia elected as vice mayor.
Mr. Wiest, 49, has lived in Atherton for four years. Before his election to the Atherton council in 2012 he served on many county and community boards and committees. He owns a small business in San Mateo called Wiest and Associates.
In 2010, less than a year after moving to Atherton, Mr. Wiest was one of four candidates running for three open seats on the council.
Council members traditionally -- though not always -- choose the council's vice mayor as mayor for the following term. Although Mr. Wiest's support by his colleagues to step up to the mayor's post was unanimous, his election last July to serve as vice mayor was not so smooth.
Jerry Carlson had been chosen vice mayor last December, but when he resigned, effective July, the council majority pushed to appoint a new vice mayor before Mr. Carlson's resignation took effect. In June, with council members Jim Dobbie and Bill Widmer protesting the action, Mr. Wiest was named vice mayor. Then-mayor Elizabeth Lewis, Mr. Carlson, and Mr. Wiest voted for the appointment; Mr. Dobbie voted no and Mr. Widmer abstained.
"It is not appropriate for council member Carlson to be voting on the future mayor when (Mr. Carlson) is leaving," Mr. Dobbie said before the June vote.
Mr. DeGolia was elected in November to fill the seat left vacant by Mr. Carlson's resignation. He is an attorney who currently serves as a board member and governance committee chair of the Cleantech Open, which supports clean technology startups and as an advisory board member of the nonprofit Clean Coalition. He served on the Community Center Advisory Committee as chair of its library subcommittee.
Mr. DeGolia was elected vice mayor on a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Jim Dobbie voting no. Mr. Dobbie had nominated Bill Widmer for the post.
After he was sworn in, Mr. Wiest thanked outgoing mayor Elizabeth Lewis for her service and promised "we are going to be staying on course." "Transparency is very important," he said while vowing to continue to work on priorities such as reducing long-term liabilities.
Before the election of Mr. Wiest, Ms. Lewis highlighted some of the council's accomplishments during the last year, including what she said was the No. 1 accomplishment: allowing "transparency through technology" by upgrading the town's website and sending out more information via email.
"As a town we ask a lot from our residents," Ms. Lewis said. "But I know that our residents are up to the task."
Renee Batti contributed to this report.