It was an evening of heartfelt thanks, lots of laughter and reminiscing, and a changing of the guard, so to speak. New council members and the city treasurer were sworn in and Lt. John Salisbury of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department was welcomed as the new police chief of San Jacinto. It was also time to say “so long” but not goodbye to outgoing Councilman John Gagnepain, whose term was up and was replaced by Councilman-elect Russ Utz.
After waiting about an hour for the election results to be certified, Resolution 3646 was read aloud to certify the results of the Nov. 8 election. Hemet Mayor Bonnie Wright and Councilwoman Linda Krupa came to witness the swearing in of the new San Jacinto City Council.
Re-elected Councilwoman Crystal Ruiz commented on the wild election that this area, and the whole country, recently experienced.
“I’d like to welcome Russ Utz to the San Jacinto City Council, but unfortunately that means we have to bid a sad farewell to John Gagnepain. You really filled Mark’s shoes,” said Ruiz. “I didn’t think it was possible when he left, but you stepped right in and went to work. You are a true pillar in this community and I know you aren’t going very far, because I have your number and I can find your address, so we will be catching up and you will be helping me with the city,” she added jokingly.
She recalled the wonderful job Kotyuk did as mayor last year.
“You took the reins and made everything happen,” she said. “You’re quite the man.”
Kotyuk presented Gagnepain with a personalized street sign and plaque to memorialize his service with the City Council.
It’s going to be the cleanest street in town,” quipped Kotuk.
Former Mayor Pro Tem Scott Miller was elected as mayor for the council, and Alonso Ledezma was elected mayor pro tem.
City Manager Tim Hults introduced San Jacinto’s new Police Chief, Lt. John Salisbury, who replaced retiring chief, Lt. Pat Chavez. Salisbury was assigned to San Jacinto when we first started contracting with the Riverside Sheriff’s Department, said Hults.
“Thank you all as well as the city manager for allowing me to come to work here,” said Salisbury. “I grew up in the valley and so I am very familiar with issues here. I previously worked here in San Jacinto and immensely enjoyed that experience; I’m really glad to be here.”
Mayor Miller had some warm words to welcome Russ Utz to the council.
“Russ is always out there, always working hard to do the best for the community,” said Miller. “Even in the heat, he is there, cleaning up the fire station. He’s out there with the Lions, he’s just always out there, and has been associated with the city before with the Planning Commission, and I’m looking forward to working with Russ; we know he’s been looking forward to this day.”