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Grover Beach swears in Jeff Lee as new mayor, says goodbye to John Shoals

The Grover Beach City Council swore in new mayor Jeff Lee on December 10, 2018, as well as current council members Mariam Shah and Barbara Nicolls.
The Grover Beach City Council swore in new mayor Jeff Lee on December 10, 2018, as well as current council members Mariam Shah and Barbara Nicolls.

There’s a new mayor in town — but he’s not exactly a new face.

The Grover Beach City Council swore in Councilman Jeff Lee as mayor on Monday night, marking his first term at the city’s helm.

“This has always been a team effort, and I would not be here today without each and every one of you,” Lee said in prepared comments during Monday night’s meeting.

Lee defeated contenders Debbie Peterson and Elizabeth Doukas with 50.46 percent of the vote in the November election.

“I’m pleased as punch by the voters’ decisions,” Third District Supervisor Adam Hill said at the meeting Monday night. “There’s just good times ahead for the city, and it’s in good hands.”

Lee replaces outgoing Mayor John Shoals, who was termed out of office this year after more than 13 years with the city.

Numerous South County officials wished Shoals well Monday night, including Hill, Pismo Beach Mayor Ed Waage and Arroyo Grande Mayor-Elect Caren Ray.

“I’d like to recognize you for your service, commitment and love for this community,” City Manager Matt Bronson said. “One of the marks for any public servant is to leave the community in a better place than you found it, and you have certainly done that.”

Bronson then gave Shoals a road sign emblazoned with the words “Shoals Way” as a memento of Shoals’ efforts to improve the city’s roads.

“I am deeply humbled and touched by the kind words and comments,” Shoals said before thanking the city, staff, friends and his family — notably his sister, who was also in attendance Monday night.

“All that I am today is because of this lady, and of course my mom and dad,” he said.

Shoal’s final words to the public as mayor were to assure everyone he would stay involved in the community.

“I would just say I’m the richest person from this experience in serving this community,” he said, choking up slightly. “This community has a lot to offer. It is special. ... I’m just glad I could contribute in some small way to this community.”

Current council members Barbara Nicolls and Mariam Shah were also sworn in Monday night for their second terms.

“We’ve got four more years to get a lot more done,” Nicolls said. “I’m really looking forward to serving the city for the next four years.”

Shah added: “I can’t thank the voters enough to having confidence in me and letting me continue to do this job.”

Lee’s move leaves the council with one open seat — Lee was halfway through his four-year council term when he won the mayoral spot.

To fill that vacancy, the council will appoint a new council member through an application and interview process.

Applications are due by Dec. 21, with public interviews planned for the council’s first meeting in January. City staff is expected to share information for those seeking the appointment on the city’s website by Tuesday evening.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.
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