The Portola Valley Town Council selected Craig Hughes to serve as mayor and Sarah Wernikoff to serve as vice mayor for 2022 during a Wednesday, Dec. 8, Zoom meeting.
Outgoing mayor Maryann Derwin said that even in a year of "sorting through thorny problems," she is grateful that she given the opportunity to represent residents.
"Once again, the global pandemic dominated daily life but little by little, as the vaccines became more available, our town folk began to emerge from isolation like sleepy, hungry bears," she said. "I know that tensions will continue to run high as we discuss land use around housing and wildfire risk, folks of differing viewpoints struggling to truly listen to each other creating anxiety, fear and mistrust."
Derwin shared how in 2015, a few days after her son, Charlie, died in car accident, her neighbors, Kristin and Rusty Day, kindly and quietly dropped off a jar of blackberry jam at her door.
"I was so moved by the kind gesture that I kept the jar as a reminder that where a person stands on a controversial town issue, and what that person might say at a council meeting or write on the PV Forum is not the measure of that person's heart," Derwin said. "In times of great tragedy, we come together and help one another, and it is important to remember that truth."
Derwin also read a list of the names of residents who died in 2021.
Hughes thanked Derwin for her work in 2021.
"Thank you for your job this year," Hughes told Derwin. Hughes was vice mayor in 2021. "Our partnership through this last difficult year was a very good one and a very productive one."
Hughes, a serial startup founder, joined the council in 2013. He last served as mayor in 2017.
Before becoming a council member, Hughes was a member of the Architectural and Site Control Commission for over four years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Wernikoff joined the council in 2020. Before joining the council, she served as a community volunteer in the Portola Valley School District, fulfilling a number of roles including parent-teacher organization president, foundation trustee and member of the Measure Z Leadership Committee.
Wernikoff also joined the LuMind IDSC Down Syndrome Foundation shortly after it was founded and was there for 12 years, including three years as board chair.