The gavel has once again changed hands at the Del Mar City Council.
In a unanimous vote, council members appointed Councilman Al Corti as the city’s new mayor and Councilwoman Sherryl Parks as deputy mayor. Corti served as deputy mayor throughout the past year.
A Del Mar resident for more than two decades, Corti served as a member of the Form Based Code Committee, Traffic and Parking Advisory Committee, and the Design Review Board before he was elected to the council in 2012.
“This is an exciting time in Del Mar,” Corti said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve and give back to the city. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity.”
Before the gavel changed hands, the council approved a resolution commending former Mayor Lee Haydu for her service and contributions to the city. San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts presented her with a signed proclamation and declared Dec. 2 as “Lee Haydu Day” throughout the county.
“I couldn’t do my job without the great collaboration I have with all elected officials in my jurisdiction,” Roberts said. “You have been not only a colleague, but a friend. I want to thank you for that, and thank you for all that you’ve done.”
A Del Mar resident for more than 30 years, Haydu was elected to the council in 2010. She served as mayor throughout the past year, replacing former Mayor Terry Sinnott. Del Mar rotates the mostly ceremonial positions of mayor and deputy mayor among council members each year.
“I want to thank you for your leadership, for being a very good colleague and a wonderful mayor,” Sinnott said after Roberts’ presentation.
“I wanted to thank you for modeling strong mayorship,” Parks added. “Once you took over, I was really amazed at how alert and awake and receptive you’ve been to both the public and to the rest of us on the panel.”
A Georgia native, Haydu earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Augusta College, now known as Georgia Regents University. For 10 years, she lived in New York, where she worked in medical sales, before relocating to Del Mar with her late husband, Dr. Paul Haydu.
In Del Mar, Haydu was a stay-at-home mother, raising two daughters. She also became active in the community, serving on the Del Mar San Dieguito Lagoon Committee and the Del Mar Heights Elementary Site Council.
Under her leadership, the city invested in street and drainage improvements in the Beach Colony area, completed the North Torrey Pines Bridge seismic restoration project, strengthened its relationship with the 22nd District Agricultural Association, and more.
“I think we’ve accomplished some great things since I’ve been on council, and I’m very proud of what we’ve done,” Haydu said. “I’m looking forward to moving on to my next adventure in life.”
She opted not seek a second term in November for personal reasons.
After a long battle with leukemia, her husband died in February 2013. He served as medical director of the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Tri-City Medical Center. She has also since lost her mother.
“I think being on the council is what kept me going over the years,” she said. “It was something else to focus on.”
Said Sinnott, “On a personal level, I know what you’ve gone through in the last two years. Your strength has been tremendous. It’s amazing that you’ve done all that you’ve done.”
After council members, staff and members of the public thanked Haydu, Sinnott was sworn in for his second term and former Del Mar City Attorney Dwight Worden was sworn in for his first.
Rather than hold a fall election, the council appointed Sinnott and Worden — the only two candidates for two seats — during a special meeting Aug. 20.
“I’m excited to be on the council,” Worden said after taking the oath of office. “There’s a long line of great people, from Lee on back through the decades that have been on this council, that we’ve been lucky to have.”
“If we keep our focus, keep the ‘Del Mar Way’ intact, we’re going to be very successful,” added Sinnott, who was first elected in 2010. “It’s exciting. I look forward to working with this body and the staff.”