Updated 1:22 a.m.
While it’s no surprise, it’s now official: Carol Dutra-Vernaci is Union City’s new mayor, and the first woman in the city’s history to hold the position.
"I knew it was coming but I never take anything for granted," the mayor-elect said during a festive celebration at Crowne Plaza Hotel Tuesday night. "I was still out there knocking on doors and talking to people."
Dutra-Vernaci ran unopposed in the election after Richard Valle pulled out to pursue the county supervisor post. Despite running alone, she was still required to receive a majority vote.
An inevitable win, Dutra-Vernaci received 12,186 votes.
There were 316 write-in votes, as well.
Even if there were contenders for the seat, it would have been tough to beat the longtime public servant.
Dutra-Vernaci, 57, is a third-generation Union City native with an impressive resume: she served three consecutive terms on the City Council, is the chair of the city’s Economic Development Advisory Team, the chair of the Union City Community Emergency Response Team and is the incoming president of the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation.
Among her top priorities are creating good jobs, increasing public safety and having a more accessible city government, Dutra-Vernaci told Patch.
Her key concern going into 2013, however, is the city's budget. The new two-year budget must be adopted by July 2013.
"It's important for me to understand the budget and get input from residents," the former councilwoman said.
She said the loss of redevelopment dollars has shaken up the city's fiscal affairs.
"We have to see what's being lost and what could be supported through reserves," she said.
Dutra-Vernaci will be sworn into office as Union City’s fourth mayor since the city started holding direct elections in 1974, according to City Clerk Renee Elliot.
Dutra-Vernaci will succeed Mark Green, who will be termed out after this year following 19 years as mayor.