Mitch O'Farrell

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell was elected the City Council's president pro tempore today, replacing Councilman and 2022 mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino.

"I appreciate the vote of confidence, it's a great honor," O'Farrell said.

He spoke about the work the City Council has done in the last year and a half of the pandemic, including enacting hero pay for grocery store workers, passing an eviction moratorium for renters, enacting a vaccination mandate for municipal workers and creating an outdoor dining program for restaurants.

"We've done great things, colleagues, and I will acknowledge that there are differences of opinion and approaches on this council, but I will also commit to anyone ... I am committed to being a resource for any and all without judgment. That's my philosophy on public service and constituent service, that will be my philosophy as your president pro tem."

Council President Nury Martinez had introduced a motion on Sept. 21 calling for Buscaino to step down and be replaced by O'Farrell, who will assume the position on Friday.

"The time has come for Joe to run his race for mayor and I will continue to focus on leading this city and this council without distraction," Martinez said in a statement after introducing the motion.

Her motion was seconded by Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Gil Cedillo, Curren Price, Paul Krekorian and Bob Blumenfield.

Buscaino said ahead of the motion being introduced on Sept. 21 that he would step down as president pro tempore because he is running for mayor.

"As is the long-held tradition of giving up council leadership when running for another office, today I will be stepping down from my ceremonial position of council president pro tem and will be supporting my good friend Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson to replace me," Buscaino said in a statement.

Buscaino -- a former police officer who represents the 15th Council District -- announced his run for mayor on March 15. During his mayoral campaign and as a councilman, Buscaino has called for stricter enforcement of the city's anti-camping laws and introduced a motion to prohibit camping and sleeping on sidewalks by people who have already been offered a shelter option.

He also introduced a resolution to enforce the city's anti-camping laws around every public school in Los Angeles.

The City Council president pro tempore acts as presiding officer when the council president is absent. If the council president position is vacant or if there is a longterm unavailability due to sickness, absence from the state or disability, the president pro tempore exercises the powers and duties of the council president.

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