Mark Elliott is Lathrop’s newest council member.
On Thursday the four elected members of the Lathrop City Council appointed Elliott after a brief public interview between the two candidates — Elliott and Debra Rock — that submitted applications to be considered as the replacement for a portion of the term vacated by Councilman Omar Ornelas.
Elliott, who has served on the City of Lathrop’s Planning Commission for the last six years and served as a Parks and Recreation commissioner before that, will be formally sworn in to his new position on Monday, Feb. 1.
“People have been asking me to run for the council and the time just wasn’t right for me, but now with my experience on the planning commission and as a parks and recreation director I think that this is the logical next step – those positions helped prepare me with the information that I need to make informed decisions and know how things work properly,” said Elliott after learning of his appointment. “My goal is to keep the city going in its current direction and assist the council wherever possible. I think that the vision and the mission of the city is working well and I want to do everything I can to keep it that way.”
Elliott will have roughly 10 months on the council before it’ll be up for formal election for the remaining two years of the four-year term – a unique twist since Ornelas didn’t serve half of the term that he was elected to. If he chooses, Elliott can run for either the seat he’ll occupy, or one of the two four-year terms that will be up for election in November. When coupled with the mayor’s seat, which gets elected every two years, four-fifths of the Lathrop City Council will be up for grabs before the voters.
When asked by the council what he saw as the biggest issue facing the city, Elliott said that he was concerned about SB5 and its impacts on future growth and expansion of the community – referencing the series of bills approved by the California legislature that mandates that levees be able to withstand a 200-year flood. If that work isn’t completed by a certain time or if the State of California doesn’t believe that adequate progress is being made towards those goals, all development within that plain – which ends up being the entire City of Lathrop – will have to halt until the work is complete or an adequate progress finding is granted.
Elliott has lived in Lathrop for 47 years and for the last 21 years has been a volunteer football coach for teams that include the Lathrop Jr. Spartans. He’s a graduate of San Joaquin Delta College and Sacramento State University and is charge of the juvenile probation division for San Joaquin County.