Breaking with recent tradition, City Council members Monday selected Bill DeWitt as mayor and bypassed Odell (Del) Snavely, the vice mayor who was next in line for the city's top office.
DeWitt, 43, who owns a local woodworking business, said he did not seek the position of mayor but that he hoped the city would progress under his leadership.
For the past three years, the council in its annual reorganization has chosen the vice mayor as mayor. Snavely, a former mayor in 1980-81 and 1982-83, was the object of controversy last year when he was accused during a council meeting of selling sexual paraphernalia at his gift shop. The allegations were made by Robert Winter, an unsuccessful council candidate.
Snavely, a minister at the South Gate Church of Christ, denied the allegations and a subsequent investigation by the South Gate Police Department found no crime was committed. The councilman, who faces reelection next April, said he did not believe the charges had anything to do with the council's decision to bypass him for the mayor's job.