New Santa Paula Mayor Bob Gonzales hands outgoing Mayor Fred Robinson a plaque for his dedicated service during the past year as Mayor of Santa Paula.

Fred Robinson’s leadership, dedication as Mayor lauded by City Council

December 23, 2011
Santa Paula City Council

He’d had to miss his final meeting as Mayor, but Fred Robinson was on hand Monday night for the ceremony thanking him for his year of service as the city’s top representative. And it was a job well done according to Bob Gonzales, who was selected mayor at the December 5 meeting. 

Robinson had missed that session and was unable to be presented with the ceremonial gavel due to eye surgery. Said Gonzales, “On behalf of the council I want to thank you for your dedicated service to the council,” as well as Robinson’s leadership of both the elected body and “the community as a whole.”

During his mayoral tenure Robinson was referred to more than once as “the ultimate statesman,” dedicated to representing the city at local and out of area functions.

“We sincerely thank you for your leadership... the city of Santa Paula over the years has seen a lot of council members come and go,” but, Gonzales said, although all care, Robinson always showed his deep affection for Santa Paula, “the guy with the heart for the community.... We appreciate your work dedication and commitment to the role of Mayor of the City of Santa Paula.”

Vice Mayor Ralph Fernandez said that accolades had been numerous and sincere, even though Robinson had been unable to attend the meeting that marked the end of his tenure. “We really appreciate the work you did” representing the city at functions; most, if not all, Robinson made sure to attend as the city’s official representative.

And Fernandez said Robinson did not only attend such events, but was always “graceful” in his remarks, a “great” representative that still might be called upon. “Just because you’re no longer the mayor, you’re not off the hook” of public appearances, said Fernandez.   

“I really respect you more because of your mature presence on the council,” where Councilman Rick Cook said Robinson’s skills at running a meeting soon were evident. “You were always able to keep us on course; you can still do so with smile,” noted Cook.

Councilman Jim Tovias said he and Robinson had been on a ticket for the 2008 council race, and “We became very good friends.” Both natives of Santa Paula, Tovias said his and the Robinson families lived close to each other and that both families are “very proud” that, although “from humble beginnings,” they later represented the city so well.

Robinson would always “jump in there and do the best you can always,” in spite of challenges. “No matter who was at the helm,” said Tovias, “you did good.”

City Manager Jaime Fontes also thanked Robinson on his own as well as staff’s behalf, noting, “I think most of all for your leadership and demeanor,” and for being considered “very approachable.”

Robinson thanked the council and noted it had been a “difficult year... we got through it, but last year at this time we were looking at a $1.8 million” budget shortfall that required drastic cuts. “I thank staff for hanging with us” through salary reductions, furlough days and extra duties that the council reluctantly had to embrace.

He thanked Deputy City Clerk Peggy Higgins for her hard work, completed for the council “in a timely manner,” and for her strong - even when impromptu - organizational skills.

City Clerk Judy Rice, said Robinson, was “my feedback expert. I frequently look to you to see if things are going well.” 

Robinson also thanked city counsel Karl Berger and John Cotti, noting the former had been instrumental in procedural issues related to hearings centered on the East Area 1 development process.

Fontes “is great to work with, you’re a very classy guy.... I thank all the people of Santa Paula that trusted me with the position,” and Robinson saved his last words of thanks for his wife Sharon.

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