ONTARIO - In less than a month, the City Council will have a new look - Ontario-Montclair School District board member Paul Vincent Avila will replace Councilwoman Sheila Mautz.

Avila will be joined by Councilwoman Debra Porada, who won her re-election bid last week. They will be joined by council members Jim Bowman and Alan Wapner as well as Mayor Paul Leon.

Avila's election to the council comes at a critical time as the city has started negotiations with the city of Los Angeles to regain control of L.A./Ontario International Airport.

Avila, who has run numerous times for the council, is expected to be installed in early December.

"The voters have spoken; they'd like to see Avila in a leadership role ... I look forward to working with him in the future and the opportunity to talk to him and help him with the transition," Leon said.

Avila, who did not return calls for comment, has been clouded by controversy in recent years.

In 2008, he was investigated for several incidents involving him and school district employees that an investigator deemed inappropriate behavior.

At one point, the school board even considered censuring him.

Councilman Jim Bowman and Leon said they are willing to extend their friendship to Avila and assist him during the transition.

Leon said he already reached out to Avila after election night to congratulate him and offer any assistance. The call was not immediately returned.


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This will be the first time Leon will work with Avila, and the mayor said he would like to come to his own conclusions about Avila.

"I haven't seen any evidence of perceived poor behavior for a couple of years," Leon said.

Bowman said he does not want to revisit past issues.

"We have no issues except the issues before us," he said. "I don't look in the rear-view mirror. I look to what's in front of us - address the important business of the city and work together for the benefit of the city."

Wapner and Porada have worked with Avila in the past on the school board.

Since the election, Porada said she has been in contact with Avila via email.

"I believe Paul has the best interest of the city," said Porada, who described her exchange of emails with Avila as positive.

"All of us want the best for Ontario."

Wapner said he called and congratulated Avila.

Like Porada, Wapner said council members' focus is on bringing more businesses and jobs to the city. It's also important for residents and the business community to see the council remains committed to that same direction, he said.

"I think he's 100 percent supportive of the direction we're going," Wapner added.