City Council member Tim Hepburn will take the gavel as La Verne mayor, following an upset election Tuesday in which he beat incumbent Don Kendrick, who has served as La Verne mayor since 2009.
Hepburn, also a small business owner, made mending relations with the fire department and greater transparency among city representatives, staff and the community the focal points of his campaign.
Hepburn said the first thing he hopes to accomplish as mayor is re-staffing as well as opening up discussions to resolve the on-going problems between the fire department and administration.
In 2017 firefighters sued the city claiming, among other things, that they were subject to “frivolous disciplinary investigations” and “unwanted and excessive discipline.”
The lawsuit came down to a $5.5 million settlement in February 2019, which was followed by an attempt by the city to mend relationships through the hiring of a professional team building and leadership consultant, Mike Messina. However, there still appears to be a strained relationship.
Rick Crosby and Wendy Lau were newly to the City Council, beating out a pack of six other candidates who also ran for the open seats.
Crosby, an assistant superintendent of personnel at Duarte Unified School District, received 27% of votes.
Lau, a risk manager, lawyer and University of La Verne Board of Trustees member, received 25%.
Lau was the only woman running in the entire election.
She also expressed hope for repairing the relationships within the city, something she said must be done to move the city forward.
Also winning voter approval was Measure LV to increase in sales tax in La Verne from 9.5% to 10.25%.
The increase in sales taxes is expected to generate $3.1 million in revenue to fund city services like public safety and improve infrastructure.
The measure only needed a simple majority to pass, which it did achieve with 54% of the vote.
The new mayor and city council members will take their seats at the first meeting as soon as votes are certified