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Riverside’s three new City Council members start their terms with a twist

Philip Falcone, Steven Robillard, and Sean Mill were elected in March. Their first vote was to undo action taken by the outgoing council during their final session earlier in the day.

The Riverside City Council swore in three new councilmembers and one re-elected councilmember Tuesday night. Philip Falcone now represents Ward 1, Steven Robillard represents Ward 3, and Sean Mill represents Ward 5. Councilmember Steve Hemenway will continue to represent Ward 7.

Outgoing Ward 1 Councilmember Erin Edwards, who did not seek re-election, congratulated Falcone before leaving the dias for her final time, “You are a hard worker and you deeply love this ward. It is such an honor to hand this baton to you.”

“Let’s focus on how we can get back to the basic responsibilities of local government,” said Falcone after he was sworn in. “This is what the voters have employed us to do. Let’s get to work.”

Ward 3’s outgoing councilmember Ronaldo Fierro did not seek re-election to City Council. Instead, he mounted a failed race for the California State Assembly’s 58th District. “I wish Robillard the best of luck, Fierro said before Steven Robillard was sworn in. “I am going to miss the opportunity to work with passionate people who want to make this city better.”

“I am filled with gratitude for the trust and confidence the voters have placed in me,” said Robillard before announcing he hoped to appoint his opponent for the Ward 3 seat, Warren Avery, to the Board of Public Utilities.

Outgoing Ward 5 councilmember Gaby Placensica lost her re-election bid to Sean Mill by 177 votes, having beaten him by 222 in 2019. She was absent at the Council meeting, though Sean Mill addressed her after taking his seat. “I appreciate the sacrifice you made for the people of Riverside,” Mill said in reference to his opponent. “No matter who you voted for, all that matters now is that we are on the same team: Team Riverside.”

Before the meeting adjourned to a night of celebrations, Ward 4 Councilmember Conder moved to reconsider items 28 and 29, which extended the City Manager and City Attorney’s employment contracts and were voted for in the earlier afternoon by all of the councilmembers except for Ward 6’s Jim Perry. Sean Mill seconded Conder’s motion, and all three new councilmembers joined Conder in voting to revisit these items at the April 23 City Council meeting.