DEL MAR — Praised for her leadership, fairness and empathy, Mayor Lee Haydu was recognized on Dec. 2 during her last meeting as a City Council member.
Elected in 2010, Haydu said she did not seek a second term for personal reasons.
“I’ve had a lot of personal losses since I’ve been on council,” she said, referring to the death of her husband and mother during her four-year tenure. “Being on the council has kept me going over the years because it was something else to focus on.”
Councilman Al Corti, who later in the meeting was selected to serve as mayor, read a Resolution of Appreciation that listed Haydu’s activities and accomplishments.
She served on the San Dieguito Lagoon Preservation, Traffic Parking Advisory, Housing Element Advisory, San Dieguito Double Track Project, Form-Based Code and San Diego Association of Governments Shoreline Preservation committees, to name a few.
She also was a liaison to the Del Mar Foundation, Friends of Del Mar Parks, Del Mar Village Association, Design Review Board and Del Mar Garden Club.
During her year as mayor Haydu cut the ribbon to mark the completion of the North Torrey Pines Bridge seismic retrofit, established monthly meetings during which residents could speak with her about any issues of concern and was instrumental in a project to build sidewalks and improve streets and drainage in the Beach Colony.
Haydu was particularly lauded for her work as a member of the Del Mar Fairgrounds Community Relations Committee, having “been a leader in establishing better relations with the 22nd District Agricultural Association to address issues of mutual concern,” the resolution states.
“I really appreciate what you’ve done … to improve and strengthen our working relationship with the fairgrounds and the 22nd DAA,” Councilman Terry Sinnott said. “That’s been, I think, a tremendous value that you’ve been able to contribute.”
“I also appreciate very much your work with the 22nd DAA,” Councilman Don Mosier said. “I think we’ve made real progress with solving a lot of long-term problems with them.
“I think you deserve a lot of credit,” Mosier added. “You have this nice way of delivering a harsh message in gentle words and it’s been very effective. I’m going to miss you greatly in that. You’re going to be hard to replace.”
“Your ability to form strong alliances with the neighboring agencies has been a great benefit to the city,” resident Brooke Eisenberg-Pike said.
Supervisor Dave Roberts also presented Haydu with a resolution from the county that declared Dec. 2, 2014, Lee Haydu Day in San Diego.
“It’s a happy sad occasion for me,” said Roberts, who described the outgoing mayor as a colleague and a friend. “I wish you the best of luck.”
Haydu was also praised by her other colleagues, staff and residents. Corti thanked her for being a role model, and City Manager Scott Huth said he appreciated her teaching him “the Del Mar way.”
“You always lent a warm, human touch to the council and during a very personally challenging year you managed to serve the city conscientiously and faithfully,” Eisenberg-Pike added.
“Although many issues before this council have been contentious, you have remained open minded, even handed and truly listened,” resident Deborah Isaacson-Groban said. “You dealt with items with fairness, and on a personal level your sense of empathy was always evident and appreciated.”
Haydu “demonstrated a calm and professional demeanor” when faced with “challenging behavior” and balanced “the needs of the community and the city while also looking out for the best interests of city employees,” the resolution also states.
Following the recognition, Corti and Sherryl Parks were appointed as mayor and deputy mayor, respectively.
Corti said his priority during the next 12 months would be to build a new city hall, with a groundbreaking during his tenure.
Sinnott and former Del Mar city attorney and new Councilman Dwight Worden were then sworn into office.
According to city policy the top two vote getters in any one election are in line to rotate the positions. This year, because there were two candidates for the same number of availaable seats, council members opted to appoint Corti and Worden and cancel the local election.
Council members agreed that in 2017 and 2018 the mayor and deputy mayor positions would be filled based on seniority if it exists or a coin toss if it doesn’t.