The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously elected Nathan Fletcher to serve as chairman Tuesday, also unanimously selected Nora Vargas as vice-chairwoman and Terra Lawson-Remer as chair pro-tempore.
The vote marked the second year in the row for Fletcher and Vargas in their leadership positions. Lawson-Remer replaces Joel Anderson as chair pro-tempore. The board selects its leaders at the beginning of each year.
Due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, supervisors met via teleconference on Tuesday.
Vargas made the original motion for Fletcher to serve as chairman again, along with herself to serve as vice-chairwoman and Anderson as chair pro tempore. Anderson proposed that Lawson-Remer take over.
Fletcher thanked his colleagues for again selecting him as chairman.
"It is an honor, it's a privilege and responsibility I take very, very seriously," he said, also thanking county residents for their trust and toughness during a pandemic.
"A lot of us lived the words of (poet) Robert Frost, that the best way is through," Fletcher said. "Our board will never lose its focus on fighting for each and every one of you."
Fletcher said the board will spend 2022 on policies that help the working-class, tackle homelessness, improve housing and keep neighborhoods safe.
"I accept the gavel in the role as chair, and we'll continue to work together," he added.
Along with thanking Fletcher for his leadership during a difficult 2021, Lawson-Remer praised Vargas for being "so brave, and so fierce and so consistent in her leadership." She also credited Anderson for his willingness to work with other board members despite some disagreements.
"This board is stronger because of the voluntary leadership of our colleagues," Lawson-Remer added.
According to Fletcher's office, the last county supervisor to serve in the lead role for consecutive years was DeGraff Austin, in 1947 and 1948.
Fletcher will also serve on numerous county boards and commissions this year, including Child and Family Strengthening Advisory Board, First 5 Commission and San Diego County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council.
During a public comment period, two people called in and urged the board to vote for Fletcher as chairman, based on his support for workers.
Brigette Browning, with the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, said Fletcher has shown "real courage during this pandemic."
Other callers were opposed to Fletcher taking the reins for a second year.
County resident Peggy Walker thanked Fletcher for his service, but said the county should give another member the chance to lead, in keeping with the tradition of selecting board leadership on a rotating basis.
"It's only right and fair" that another district with a more rural population have a chance, Walker added.
Fletcher represents District 4, which includes dozens of San Diego city neighborhoods.