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New faces at City Hall Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Dec 11 2010 12:00 PM

'Tis the season for changes at Chula Vista City Hall.

At City Hall Tuesday, oaths of office were administered to incoming councilwoman Patricia Aguilar, who will take termed-out John McCann's seat, and city-elected Glen Googins, who will replace Bart Miesfeld as city attorney.

McCann, 41, served eight years on the dais and will take his newly-elected seat on the board of the Sweetwater Union High School District.

During his tenure, McCann aided in city growth by overseeing the expansion of the Chula Vista Auto Park, the design of Otay Ranch Town Center, helping secure a land deal for the proposed university and research park, constituting the city advisory committee for the bayfront, and laying down the foundation for the decommissioning of the South Bay power plant. He also supported Christmas in October as co-chair for eight years.

Chula Vista firefighter representatives said McCann always made public safety a priority, and a representative from American Legion Post 434 said McCann was always available and ready to help.

Citizen Marc Schaefer spoke for absent Christine Moore of the South County Economic Development Commission.

"He has served as a strong advocate for economic growth," Schaefer said. "...We thank him for his vision and work for investing in our future."

Scott Vinson, president of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, said McCann often called them for input on matters related to the city. "I knew every time you made a vote it was from your heart and we thank you for that," he said.

McCann said he appreciates the work the City Council and staff did collectively. "I have been proud to give my service to the city."

McCann also cast the only vote against placing a sales tax measure on last year's ballot and cast the dissenting vote opposing $20 million in cuts, which the city needed to balance the budget.

Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox declared Dec. 7 as John McCann Day. "McCann fulfilled his two terms and he will leave a legacy behind," Cox said.

McCann is a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve and completed a 10-month tour in Iraq this summer.

Bart Miesfeld was appointed city attorney by the City Council in December 2008. He specialized in litigation and has been practicing as a municipal attorney with the city since 1998. He will continue to serve staff with a salary of $213,679 until July 9, 2011. Following that he will be paid a senior assistant city attorney salary.

"Bart Miesfeld has served this city capably, with a profound respect for the law," Cox said.

Miesfeld said he is fortunate to be a part of Chula Vista and the council. "This city has put together a group of leaders that are good men and women who are smart," he said. "Tonight I feel like the luckiest person in the world."

"Today marks a day in history for the day in Chula Vista where we've been appointed a city attorney," Cox said.

Miesfeld said Googins has the opportunity to shape what city attorneys will do in the future. "I can't think of a better person for this position," Miesfeld said.

Googins said his role as city attorney is to deliver quality legal advice and high-quality services. "I must be an advocate of open and transparent government," he said. "I need to be proactive in who I communicate to ... by holding public forums and acting as a clearing house."

Googins also said it's important to recognize what the city attorney is not. The city attorney does not make policy decisions.

"At the end of the day, the city attorney has to help the city get things done."

Googins said teamwork would get the city's fiscal health back on track. His annual salary is $203,688.

Patricia Aguilar's husband Nick swore her in.

"I am honored and humbled to be chosen by the voters of the city of Chula Vista to be the next Chula Vista councilwoman," she said. "I'll be trying to fill some big shoes."

Aguilar said her focus is community service. "I love this city - I've never found a place like Chula Vista. I want to give back what this city has given to me," she said.

Aguilar said she will explain to the public why she votes and will ask the question of whether the decision is good for Chula Vista.

"I believe with all my heart that you will do what you believe in your heart is right for this community and that you have the character to live up to that standard..." Councilman Ramirez said to Aguilar. "It is a great honor to be your friend."

Cox was sworn in by husband and San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox and said the city's fiscal health is her top priority. "Today Chula Vista is not spending beyond its means and its staff is much, much smaller," she said. "I will work to see that projects continue to progress."

Cox said Chula Vista has a lot of potential. "It's hard sometimes to see problems as undiscovered possibilities," she said. "As the new year rises, I encourage you to say yes to opportunities, imagination and working to improve the city of Chula Vista."

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