A screenshot from the livestream of the Dec. 7 Rancho Mirage City Council meeting after Michael O'Keefe took his seat at the dais following his swearing in.
New Rancho Mirage Councilmember Michael O’Keefe takes his seat on the dais after being sworn into office. (Rancho Mirage/screenshot)

The Rancho Mirage City Council last Thursday appointed Michael O’Keefe to fill the seat vacated by former Mayor Richard Kite last month.

“This is a very, very difficult choice that I’m going to make, because there are a number of individuals that are here that are in the audience today and that have applied — all of whom would make an outstanding contribution to our city and, in my opinion, would fit seamlessly into the council,” Mayor Pro Tem Ted Weill said before nominating O’Keefe for the appointment.

Weill said that out of all of the candidates, O’Keefe stood out due to his ongoing service to the city of Rancho Mirage, experience in local government and the recognition he has received throughout the Coachella Valley for his volunteerism.

“It was very hard for me to make this decision — not to pick this individual — but because there were several that I felt were more than qualified,” Weill said.

O’Keefe was also nominated by Councilmember Lynn Mallotto and Mayor Steve Downs, who both echoed Weill’s reasons for their nomination, and thanked those who applied for the position.

“It’s wonderful to see that quality in our city come to apply to fill Richard’s remaining term, and I thank you very much, and I salute you for taking the time to do so,” Downs said.

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Councilmember Meg Marker, however, nominated local attorney and Rancho Mirage Planning Commission Chairman David Grey, citing his knowledge of current and upcoming projects in the city.

“There were many good candidates, but I strongly think David is the best choice at this time to fill Richard’s seat,” Marker said.

After hearing all of the nominations, Weill made the motion to appoint O’Keefe. The motion was adopted unanimously, after which O’Keefe was sworn into office and took his seat on the dais.

“First, I want to thank council members for entrusting me with this, and I look forward to working with each of you,” he said. “And to staff, I’m eager to meet all of you, and I look forward to working with you as well. And to my fellow Rancho Mirage citizens, I pledge to you that I will do my very best to be a good and effective council member for you, and I look forward to meeting you and hearing your thoughts about our wonderful city.”

O’Keefe will serve the remainder of Kite’s term, which runs through next November. O’Keefe has previously said he plans to run for a full term.

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Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.