Gilbert Mayor John Lewis resigns; Jenn Daniels steps in as interim mayor
'It is not lost on me that these are giant shoes to fill,' Daniels said after her swearing-in.
- Gilbert Mayor John Lewis has formally resigned his elected post to become president and CEO of non-profit regional coalition East Valley Partnership
- The Town Council unanimously selected Councilwoman Jenn Daniels as interim mayor for the next six months
- Daniels' mayoral appointment has created a temporary vacancy on the council, which will be filled Aug. 18
Gilbert Mayor John Lewis has formally resigned his elected post to become president and CEO of non-profit regional coalition East Valley Partnership.
The Town Council accepted Lewis' resignation at a special meeting Tuesday evening before unanimously appointing Councilwoman Jenn Daniels as interim mayor for the next six months.
Lewis, 58, had announced plans to take the job in December but delayed his departure to avoid triggering a special mayoral election.
"It is not lost on me that these are giant shoes to fill," Daniels said after her swearing-in. She is running uncontested in the town's Aug. 30 mayoral race and is expected to begin her first full term in January.
Lewis beat out more than 50 candidates from throughout the country to succeed former East Valley Partnership President Roc Arnett, a long-revered community leader who retired in December. Lewis first signed on as the non-profit regional coalition's senior business adviser in January, so he could familiarize himself with the organization's work before resigning.
"I admit I never thought I would be either mayor or applying for the position of East Valley Partnership president," Lewis told The Republic. "But it's the type of thing that once you get an opportunity to try and build, whether it's a community or region, it's exciting."
Arnett was in the audience Tuesday as residents, town staff and elected officials from neighboring communities and the county gave Lewis a standing ovation recognizing his seven years of mayoral service.
For nearly an hour, council members and others took turns thanking Lewis for his leadership, presenting him with gifts ranging from a mayoral ring with his dates of service to a replica of Gilbert's historical water tower.
"He’s always there when you ask, and he’s a busy guy, so that means a lot," Councilman Victor Petersen said. "I’ve never seen him be unfriendly. He’s considerate. He’s always thinking of everyone."
Councilwoman Brigette Peterson told Lewis she appreciated "that you lead by example and that you teach people to not only read leadership books but to write their own, chapter by chapter."
Daniels said he "makes every citizen feel like they’re the most important person in Gilbert."
Lewis, too, reflected on his tenure. He recalled both success, such as breaking ground on the $750 million mixed-use Rivulon development, and tragedy, such as the 2010 death of Gilbert Police Lt. Eric Shuhandler.
"We've gone from the hay capital of the world to the satellite and algae and cancer-fighting and cardiovascular and non-controversial stem-cell research community," Lewis said, thanking the community for its support. "Our town will continue to serve and find ways to meet needs for today … and we will continue to prepare for the future."
Daniels' mayoral appointment has created a temporary vacancy on the council.
Anyone who has lived in Gilbert for at least a year, is of voting age and is not running for a council seat is eligible to apply.
Applicants must submit a one-page resume and a statement of interest of no more than 250 words to Town Clerk Lisa Maxwell by 6 p.m. Aug. 2
On Aug. 9, at a public meeting, the Town Council will choose three finalists to interview.
On Aug. 11, the council will interview the candidates and vote to appoint one of them.
On Aug. 18, the new council member will be sworn in at the council's regular meeting.