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December 6, 2023

Gilroy council seats new, returning members

Bracco, Cline and Marques sworn in for four-year terms

The Gilroy City Council welcomed a new face and two familiar ones, while saying farewell to a longtime member during its Dec. 12 meeting.

Tom Cline, a longtime community volunteer and business owner, fills the seat vacated by Peter Leroe-Muñoz, who stepped off the dais for the final time after 12 years on the council. Dion Bracco and Carol Marques were also sworn in for another stint on the council.

Cline, Marques and Bracco were the top three vote-getters, respectively, in the six-person November race.

Leroe-Muñoz received a standing ovation from the audience in the council chambers after he was presented with a plaque from Mayor Marie Blankley thanking him for his time on the council.

marie blankley peter leroe-munoz gilroy city council
Mayor Marie Blankley presents outgoing Gilroy City Councilmember Peter Leroe-Muñoz with a plaque commemorating his 12 years of service. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

“Twelve years ago I sat in this chair for the first time, and I remember saying I am taking this position in trust,” he said. “I’ll take the role in a temporary fashion and I’m going to do the best I can, and at some point I’m going to pass it on to somebody else. That’s exactly what’s happening tonight.”

Leroe-Muñoz has served as Gilroy’s representative on a variety of boards such as Valley Water, Association of Bay Area Governments and the Silicon Valley Regional Interoperability Authority, saying it is critical to have a local voice at the table when regional issues are discussed.

Leroe-Muñoz added that he was proud of how the community came together in the wake of the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in 2019, and the challenges it faced with the Covid-19 pandemic less than a year later.

He thanked his family, city staff and the community for their support over the past 12 years.

“Gilroy, your best days are ahead,” he said. “You have a strong leader in Mayor Blankley. You have wonderful councilmembers here. We are really standing at the edge of something special here.”

Cline said he was humbled after being sworn in, and even more so knowing that he is filling Leroe-Muñoz’s seat, who he called a “class act.”

tom cline thai pham gilroy city council
Tom Cline (right) is sworn in as a Gilroy City Councilmember by City Clerk Thai Pham during the council’s Dec. 12 meeting.

“For my constituents who have supported me, I appreciate all your support through this time,” he said, adding that he is grateful for his wife Cindy’s support. “For my constituents who didn’t necessarily support me, I look forward to getting your support as I work hard over these next four years. I will make this promise to you: I will work hard with you. Gilroy is a great community, and we have so much to look forward to.” 

Bracco, who was also appointed as mayor pro tempore for the next year, was elected for a fifth term.

“I promise to do my best to represent everyone in the city and listen to everyone,” he said.

Marques was elected to her first full four-year term, after being elected in 2018 to fill a two-year term and appointed in 2020.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us in these four years,” she said. “I know this council will work to make the best decisions possible for everyone and listen to everyone.”

Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

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