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Hernandez Takes Role As Riverbank Vice Mayor
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Riverbank City Council Member Rachel Hernandez was selected as Vice Mayor by the council at its Jan. 10 meeting that kicked off the new year. Council members usually take a turn at Vice Mayor on a rotational basis, each for a one-year term. Ric McGinnis/The News

Rachel Hernandez has been appointed as the Vice Mayor for the Riverbank City Council. She represents District 2 and is currently serving the third year of her four-year term, which expires in November, 2024. This is the first time Hernandez has been selected as Vice Mayor as they rotate the position each year. District 1 Councilmember Luis Uribe was selected as Vice Mayor last year.

Mayor Richard O’Brien nominated Hernandez at the city council meeting last week and Uribe, and District 4 Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez voted in favor of the nomination. Returning District 3 Councilmember Leanne Jones Cruz was not at the meeting.

“I am so excited about the mayor trusting me and the council voted and agreed,” said Hernandez. “I was happy that they trusted me to be vice mayor this year. I have a great working relationship with them. So, it was validating and reassuring that they have confidence in me to lead in this way this year.”

With this being her first council position, Hernandez has aligned her education and career to work with the community; however, she is still adjusting to being a public figure in the council role.

She said, “I’m such like, behind the scenes, you know, a collaborator and getting projects done and so that was the biggest thing I had to get used to with council and then stepping into my Vice Mayor position.”

The Vice Mayor would lead the council meeting if the mayor was not in attendance whether he is sick or just unavailable. Hernandez added that she would also be the point of contact for intergovernmental meetings.

Through the few years that she has been on the council, Hernandez has learned a lot and with the help from the city staff she has been able to maneuver through city business with confidence.

“I trust the city staff who is always I think, undervalued and I want to note that like, I admire the city staff and any city staff in general because of the work they do,” stated Hernandez. “They’re the experts and they’re the ones that, you know, have the city moving on a day-to-day basis with the direction of the council and the mayor. And so I think all of it is new to me in a sense but I’ve been so confident and like the city staff and working with them; it’s a good partnership.”