City Council Appoints a New Mayor and Swear-in Re-elected Councilmembers

Councilmembers Vong Mouanoutoua (left) and Lynne Ashbeck (right) reciting oath after the council certifies their re-election victories on Monday, March 22, 2021. (Anthony De Leon/Clovis Roundup)

The Clovis City Council certified the results of the March 2 election, appointing numerous positions within the council in the process during the March 22, 2021 meeting.

Councilmember Jose Flores, who was serving as mayor pro tem, was voted to replace Mayor Drew Bessinger.

Monday’s appointment is the third time the council selected Flores as Clovis’ mayor. He served his first term from 2001-03 and his most recent term from 2011-2013

Flores praised Bessinger for his leadership during his term as mayor, especially leading the City of Clovis during the sudden rise of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“We didn’t panic…In large part, because we had Drew at the helm, and he knew what to do and helped us all,” Flores said. “Clovis is going to be better…because of the things we did during the pandemic…some good credit goes to Drew Bessinger.”

After receiving the mayor’s gavel, Bessinger thanked numerous individuals, including the council, his family, and Clovis’ citizens.

“I want to thank the citizens of Clovis, there were times when you have to take public opinion baths, and sometimes that can be unpleasant,” Bessinger said. “But, that’s the price of leadership. I appreciated the support and…the occasional kicking in the seat of the pants.”

Additionally, councilmembers Vong Mouanoutoua and Lynne Ashbeck were sworn in following the certification of their re-election victories.

Mouanoutoua will be serving his second four-year term. He was first elected to the city council in March of 2017.

“The citizens got to select who they thought would be able to lead them for the next term. And that is so precious that we have that, and we exercise that so well here in…Clovis,” Mouanoutoua said.

For Ashbeck, she will enter her 20th year serving as a council member. Since her first election in March of 2001, she also served as mayor from 2003-05 and 2013-15.

Ashbeck is once again in line to serve as mayor after her mayor pro tem appointment.

Councilmember Bob Whalen made a case for Ashbeck’s appointment as mayor pro tem stating she is one of the most capable elected officials in Fresno County and is an extraordinary leader.

“I find that her [Ashebeck’s] love for the City of Clovis and all things local is extraordinary,” Whalen said. “To put her in this mayor pro tem position…is a natural fit.”

Ashbeck says that this election has left her feeling emotional and sentimental.

“I feel really lucky, humbled and honored to serve the City of Clovis. I really love this city, and so it’s just it’s been really an honor to serve,” Ashbeck said.

Monday’s meeting can be seen in its entirety here.

Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.