Fresno · Highlight

Dyer, Maxwell take oaths amid changing of the guard at Fresno City Hall

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and City Council member Tyler Maxwell took ceremonial oaths of office on Thursday ahead of the first City Council meeting of the 2021 legislative year.

The pair of elected officials, along with returning Council members Garry Bredefeld and Mike Karbassi, took their official oaths on Tuesday at a private ceremony.

Dyer was given his ceremonial oath by his two children – Jeremy Dyer and Janelle Hastings.

Richard Trevino and Fernanda Santiago, Maxwell takes his seat on the Fresno City Council from long-time Council member Paul Caprioglio representing east-central Fresno.

Caprioglio has been a staple at City Hall over an eight-year span, first stepping in on an interim basis when then-Fresno City Council member Larry Westerlund was activated for military service in 2008.

He was elected in his own right in 2012 and served from 2013 through Tuesday.

Brand’s curtain call

Closing out Thursday’s ceremonies, outgoing Fresno Mayor Lee Brand issued his farewell speech underscoring his rise from rugged roots in southeast Fresno to serving as chief executive of his hometown.

“We are forever bound by our covenant of public service,” Brand said of Fresno’s elected officials.

He couldn’t avoid the elephant in the room: an unprecedented final year in office in a line of unprecedented years in office.

“2020 has been the year from hell – starting with a 100-year pandemic, economic devastation, racial reckoning, and brownouts.”

Brand’s 12-year tenure at Fresno City Hall earned him the role of municipal turnaround artist, developing legislation that stabilized City Hall’s books and pension while the local economy struggled mightily in a long recovery.

That economic overhaul extended into his mayorship, building a $35 million reserve ahead of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet, for Brand the lowkey (or, in his words, “low volume”) leadership style was the key to the lifelong shift from a rough-and-tumble upbringing to running the city.

“A part of me will always be on MacKenzie Street,” he said, referring to his childhood home in southeast Fresno.

This story will be updated.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.