Robert Scattini took the center seat on the City Council dais
Monday after the council voted unanimously to elect him mayor of
Hollister – Robert Scattini took the center seat on the City Council dais Monday after the council voted unanimously to elect him mayor of Hollister.
Scattini, 65, said he is ready to take on the added responsibility of being the city’s mayor. As he assumes the city’s top spot, he said he wants to focus on solving Hollister’s sewer problems – namely getting a new sewage treatment plant built so the state will lift the three-year-old sewer moratorium that precludes new development. He also said he wants to work to put an end to gang violence, which has recently been on the rise.
“I feel pretty good,” Scattini said. “I’m going to work hard like I’ve always been doing.”
Scattini, who is three years into his first four-year term representing Dist. 2, served as vice-mayor for the past year under Mayor Pauline Valdivia. For the past several weeks he has had a chance to practice being mayor as he has filled in for Valdivia while she recuperates from surgery.
Councilman Brad Pike, who was named vice-mayor Monday, said that Scattini’s life-long ties to the community and experience on the board will be an asset during his one-year mayoral term.
“I think he’s got a heart of gold. I think his interest is truly in the community,” he said. “He’s got a good foundation. He’s lived here all his life and has been the second most experienced person on the council.”
Pike said he is ready to take up the role of vice mayor.
“I think it’s a responsibility I’m looking forward to,” Pike said. “I’m always confident in myself, but I still have a lot to learn.”
Being named vice mayor is a good indicator that Pike will be mayor next year. Traditionally the council elects the vice-mayor to be the next mayor.
The mayor does not have significantly more responsibility than other council members. In addition to regular council duties, the mayor signs official paperwork, runs meetings and attends events like ribbon cuttings. The vice mayor fills in when the mayor can’t make a meeting or event.
Valdivia, who was on hand Monday to pass the gavel onto Scattini, said mayor is essentially a leadership position. But being mayor doesn’t mean you know it all, she added, it is also a learning experience.
“The biggest thing is providing leadership – not only with the council, but also in the community,” said Valdivia, who also served as mayor in 1999. “I feel that I’ve gotten so much out of it.”
Valdivia’s advice for Sacttini as he transitions into the mayor position is to be accessible to the community.
“You have to have an open door policy,” she said.
Scattini, a San Benito County resident for more than six decades, said he welcomes people in the community coming to him with questions and concerns. They already do, he added.
“They come to me now,” he said. “Maybe it’s because I’ve been here long enough and people know me.”
Scattini, who also serves as the county’s elected marshal, has spent his career in law enforcement.
In 1960, he started with the San Benito County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy. He moved on to the California Highway Patrol from 1966 to 1983, when he was elected county sheriff.
In 1987 he lost a re-election bid by seven votes, but returned to law enforcement months later when the Board of Supervisors appointed him to the constable position – its term having three years left when his predecessor retired.
He won three subsequent elections. His title was changed to marshal in 1996. The marshal carries out court orders and is the enforcer of the judicial system.
Luke Roney covers local government and the environment for the Free Lance. Reach him at 831-637-5566 ext. 335 or at [email protected]