Pismo Beach leaders welcomed a few new faces to the city on Tuesday and bid farewell to a familiar one.
The City Council donned cardinal-colored hats with the University of Southern California logo as they said goodbye to Councilman Ted Ehring, a USC alumnus and geologist who has served on the council since 2006.
The council also held a swearing-in ceremony for one new and two returning council members, and approved a three-year contract with a new city manager.
Jim Lewis, currently Atascadero’s assistant city manager, will succeed City Manager Kevin Rice, who is retiring on Feb. 28 after nine years with the city. Lewis will start his new job in mid-February at a base salary of $156,885 a year.
“I feel like I’m leaving (the city) in good hands,” Ehring said after the council approved Lewis’ contract.
Then it was Ehring’s turn to be honored. City council members noted his staunch support of Dinosaur Caves Park, his dedication to public safety, and his role in approving the city’s new sewage treatment plant, which was completed in 2006.
“The city of Pismo Beach has benefited from your expertise and your love of this community,” Councilwoman Mary Ann Reiss said.
After initially declaring himself “almost speechless,” Ehring, 82, spoke at length, profusely thanking the council, city staff and residents for their dedication to Pismo Beach.
“No one does anything by themselves,” he said. “It takes all the people in this city, all the employees … all we can do is set a little policy and perhaps a little goal for them to follow.”
Council members then welcomed newcomer Erik Howell and seated returning council members Ed Waage and Mayor Shelly Higginbotham.
Howell, a longtime Lucia Mar Unified School District board member who represented the Grover Beach and Pismo Beach areas, submitted his resignation from that board on Tuesday.
School district officials will outline the process to fill his seat at Tuesday’s school board meeting. An application period is expected to start on Wednesday.
More information will be available starting Wednesday at www.lmusd.org or at 474-3000.