EL CERRITO -- Second-term incumbent Councilman Greg Lyman was elected mayor of El Cerrito Tuesday night after he and new Councilman Mark Friedman were sworn in for four-year terms.

A third council member elected Nov. 6, Jan Bridges, will join the council at its next meeting on Dec. 18. Friedman and Bridges, both former council members, are replacing outgoing Mayor Bill Jones and Councilwoman Ann Cheng, neither of whom sought re-election.

Friedman served on the council from 1997 to 2004 and Bridges from 2004 to 2008.

Lyman has said that the city has pressing infrastructure needs that must be taken care of in the midst of tight budget constraints. He said he's going to make it a priority to find the funds to replace the city's library and senior center and the police and fire stations.

"I want to continue to lead our community board in rebuilding these structures," he said. "We're going to look into our (financing) toolbox to make the type of improvements we'll be looking for."

He said he's also set goals of finishing the city's strategic plan, implementing the San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan for development and adopting a balanced budget.

Lyman lauded Jones for his "professionalism, reliability and patience" as mayor.

Jones, who joined the council in 2004, pointed to the construction of the civic center complex at San Pablo and Manila avenues as one of his most satisfying accomplishments.

"Some people didn't favor a new City Hall," Jones said. "I wasn't going to spend millions of dollars just to get a $300 plaque with my name on it on the front of the building."


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Cheng praised the leadership of City Manager Scott Hanin and the cooperation of her fellow council members in dealing with the "implosion of redevelopment and the state budget."

"This level of congeniality and respect is not common," she said. "I didn't expect to see so much cooperation coming in."

Cheng, who grew up in El Cerrito, said she has been impressed with the increase in "vibrancy and life" along San Pablo Avenue, with new restaurants and shopping and a restored Cerrito Theater.

Friedman praised the changes to the civic center complex since his previous tenure on the board. He said the council meetings were held in a shared building and the audience sat on folding chairs. City offices were housed in trailers.

"It's a pleasure to be in a new building," he said.

Residents honored

Earlier in the meeting the outgoing council acknowledged the accomplishments of El Cerrito residents Teri McKeever and Carol Tang.

McKeever, the coach of the UC Berkeley women's swimming team, led the U.S. Olympic women's team that won 15 medals at the London games this past summer.

Tang, a Ph.D. scientist who attended Adams Middle School and El Cerrito High, was honored for being chosen as one of 12 Leading Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in the United States by the STEM Education Coalition, which is working to improve education in science and mathematics.

The outgoing council also approved a $2,500 grant to the Oakland-based Writer-Coach Connection to continue its one-on-one tutoring program in writing for students at Portola Middle School.