New La Cañada mayor Michael Davitt and Donald Voss

New La Cañada Mayor Michael Davitt shakes hands with new Mayor Pro Tem Donald Voss on Monday, April 7, 2014. (Roger Wilson / Staff Photographer / April 7, 2014)

Mike Davitt was named the new mayor of La Cañada Flintridge Monday, accepting the ceremonial gavel from outgoing Mayor Laura Olhasso in the City Council's annual rotation meeting.

The transition came after council members unanimously supported Davitt's appointment and named Councilman Don Voss as mayor pro tem. Councilman Dave Spence was not present.

"It has been my joy to have a year of peace with no disasters," Olhasso said to a room packed full of friends, family members and associates. "And right now I am very pleased to hand the gavel and the microphone to our newly elected mayor. I know he will serve this community with distinction, and we will all be proud to have him as our mayor."

Assuming the central seat on the council, Davitt thanked his wife, Alison, and their four children for understanding his desire to serve.

"I can't begin to thank you for all your support," he addressed them.

After the transition, representatives from the offices of state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), state Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich recognized Olhasso's service to the community and her involvement in several larger joint efforts. Former state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino offered his heartfelt admiration.

Leadership from the L.A. County Fire and Sheriff's departments thanked her for collaborating on public safety efforts, and local citizens provided custom-made gift baskets thanking Olhasso for her opposition to the proposed 710 Freeway tunnel expansion project and her support of the Trails Council's effort to establish clean and safe community trails.

"Few people know you've probably spent more hours working on our issues than you have on family meals," quipped retired Trails Council member Randy Strapazon, offering a bucket of city-themed goodies. "We just want to let you know you're appreciated."

The Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge gave Olhasso a replica of the tile mosaic project planned to grace one of the Foothill (210) Freeway sound walls currently under construction.

City Manager Mark Alexander explained a special "inside" gift from city staff, a LEGO model of a mixed-use housing element to recognize Olhasso's work on the General Plan.

"We asked what significant event could we focus on to be iconic of the year," Alexander said, reading the inscription set into the display:

For your discerning guidance and support to staff throughout your year as Mayor, particularly your insightfulness during the update of the City's General Plan and bold leadership during the historic adoption of the City's first Housing Element, we present to you a mixed use development project of your very own!

Olhasso thanked her own family for their resilience during her service, putting up with missed meals, dirty laundry and all the times she should have been home.

"Thank you darlings, I love you," she told them. "I could not have done it without you."

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Follow Sara Cardine on Twitter: @SaraCardine.

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