OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Fountain Valley’s McCurdy Becomes 4th OC Councilman to Resign in 4 Months

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 15, 2018

Mark McCurdy, Josh Wilson, Steve Hwangbo, Jerry Slusiewicz

Recently resigned City Councilmen Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley), Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos), Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma), and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel)

In a continuing exodus of Orange County’s City Councilmen, Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley) resigned this afternoon, becoming OC’s fourth City Councilman to resign in as many months.  Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos) announced his resignation on October 30, Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma) resigned on November 30, and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel) announced his resignation on December 7.

Running a few months ahead of this group of resignations, Bert Hack (D-Laguna Woods) resigned on May 23 after suffering a stroke, and the Laguna Woods City Council appointed Joe Rainey (R-Laguna Woods) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hack had served on the City Council since the founding of Laguna Woods in 1999.   Additionally, voters recalled Andrew Hamilton (R-Lake Forest) on January 2 and elected Tom Cagley (R-Lake Forest) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hamilton had been first elected to the Lake Forest City Council in 2014.

Today: Mark McCurdy of Fountain Valley

In an email released by the City, McCurdy cited a new job outside of the area, writing:

“At this time, I find it necessary to secure employment outside the area, and having no other option, to effective immediately, step down from my position serving on the City Council. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Fountain Valley and, for that I will always be grateful.”

Just six weeks ago, McCurdy had been passed over for Mayor by his Council colleagues despite the Fountain Valley City Council’s long tradition of seniority dictating that it was McCurdy’s turn to be Mayor; he had similarly been passed over for Mayor Pro Tem the year before.   McCurdy had previously served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2012 and Mayor in 2013.  First elected to the Fountain Valley City Council in 2010, McCurdy had been the top vote-getter in 2014 (which broke his tie in seniority with Councilman Michael Vo, who became Mayor six weeks ago).

The Fountain Valley City Council will decide whether to appoint a replacement Councilmember or hold a special election to fill the remainder of McCurdy’s term, which expires in November.

October 2017: Josh Wilson of Los Alamitos

In October, Wilson resigned from the Los Alamitos City Council citing a new job as a credit union executive in Montana.  Wilson had been first elected to the Council just 11 months earlier when he had been the top vote-getter, surpassing two incumbents and unseating Councilman Dean Grose.  In a statement released by the City, Wilson said:

“Reaching the decision to leave Los Alamitos was difficult. I am sincerely appreciative of the community’s support and I am proud of my service to the city. I have the utmost confidence that Los Alamitos will continue to thrive under the leadership of the City Council and the dedication of the city staff.”

The Los Alamitos City Council appointed Mark Chirco (NPP-Los Alamitos) in December to replace Wilson.  Chirco will serve until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Wilson’s term, which expires in 2020.

November 2017: Steve Hwangbo of La Palma

First elected in 2010, Hwangbo was the top vote-getter in his 2014 re-election to the La Palma City Council.  A rumored Republican candidate for the 65th Assembly District to challenge Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), Mayor Pro Tem Hwangbo instead resigned from the City Council in November exactly one year to the day before term limits would have ended his Council service.  Hwangbo cited “personal reasons” according to a City press release.  He had been Mayor in 2013 and had been widely expected to become Mayor in 2018.  In an email to the Orange County Register, Hwango wrote:

“It was truly an honor and privilege to represent and serve fellow La Palma citizens for last seven years.”

The La Palma City Council appointed Kathy Flachmeier (NPP-La Palma) two weeks ago to replace Hwangbo.  She will be sworn into office tomorrow and will serve the remainder of Hwangbo’s term, which expires in November.

December 2017: Jerry Slusiewicz of Laguna Niguel

First elected to the Council in 2012, Slusiewicz had just been re-elected in 2016.  This year, Mayor Slusiewicz had challenged the legitimacy of a $410,000 contract overrun while he himself was accused of abusing his power as Mayor of Laguna Niguel to intimidate City staff and residents.  Consequently, the City Council threatened to remove Slusiewicz as Mayor.  Instead, he stepped down as Mayor in August but planned to remain on the Council.  However, in December, Slusiewicz resigned from the Laguna Niguel City Council after a bizarre incident in which his office window was damaged by an unknown object, possibly a bullet.  In a statement released by the City, Slusiewicz said:

“Serving the citizens of Laguna Niguel has always been a tremendous privilege and I am grateful to the taxpayers who twice elected me as their advocate. Yet my greatest commitment has always has been to my family and my highest honor serving as a husband and a father. Their safety is my top priority, and this has shaken us to the core. Considering the events of the last 48 hours, we have decided as a family that it would be unwise for me to remain on the City Council.”

Two weeks after Slusiewicz’s resignation, the Laguna Niguel City Council appointed former Mayor and current Orange County Board of Education Trustee Linda Lindholm (R-Laguna Niguel) to fill Slusiewicz’s seat until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Slusiewicz’s term, which expires in 2020.  Planning to retire from public office by the end of 2018, Lindholm has already stated she will not be a candidate for either the Council seat or her Board of Education seat.

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