During its first meeting of the new year, on Jan. 2, 2024, the University Place City Council elected Council Member Javier H. Figueroa to serve as the city’s new mayor and Council Member Ed Wood to serve as mayor pro tem. Both will occupy their new roles for the next two years, through the end of 2025. This change in leadership is standard practice in U.P., where the Council rules set the term for these positions on a two-year cycle.
Figueroa served the last two years as mayor pro tem and also served as the City’s mayor in 2016 and 2017. He has been a member of the University Place City Council since 2010 and serves on numerous regional organizations, including the executive boards of the Pierce County Regional Council and Puget Sound Regional Council.
Wood was elected to the U.P. City Council in 2021, beginning his term of service early in November 2021. He has served the last two years as the City’s Finance Committee chair and serves on several other regional organizations. He has also served on the Public Safety Advisory Commission since 2010, serving as co-chair beginning in 2017, and serving as its chair in 2020 to 2021.
In addition to the election of the new mayor and mayor pro tem, the Jan. 2 meeting also included the swearing in of the City Council’s two newest members. Pierce County District Court Judge Karl Williams gave the oath of office to Frank Boykin who was elected to Position 2 in November 2023, while Pierce County Superior Court Judge Grant Blinn gave the oath of office to Melanie Grassi who won Position 7 in the November election.
Following the swearing in of the new members, outgoing Mayor Steve Worthington shared a State of the City video presentation that highlighted many of the City’s major accomplishments in 2023. Before turning the gavel over to Figueroa and resuming his role as a City Council member, Worthington commended U.P. residents, business owners and City staff for supporting the City’s goals by working together. “Teamwork is what builds our community and makes it stronger all the time,” he said.
For his part, Mayor Javier Figueroa noted that he looks forward to working with staff, commissioners, and volunteers to build on U.P.’s reputation as a great place to live, work and play. “We have a full plate that will take a lot of muscle to get the community’s business done,” he said.