The changing of the guard at the Merced City Council was full of firsts and lasts.
Monday was the council’s first meeting with its new mayor, Bill Spriggs, and three new council members -- and its last with council members Jim Sanders and Joe Cortez, as well as outgoing Mayor Ellie Wooten.
Newly elected, and soon to retire, Undersheriff Bill Blake was elected mayor pro tem by the council and newly minted council members Mary-Michal Rawling and Josh Pedrozo took their places behind the dais.
Mayor Wooten passed her gavel and position to Councilman — now mayor — Bill Spriggs in front of a crowd, which included Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, as well as Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin and County Supervisor John Pedrozo.
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-- Jonah Owen Lamb