The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has appointed one of its members, Irish-educated Mark Farrell, to serve as interim mayor following the death of Mayor Ed Lee in December. A citywide election for a new mayor will be held in June.
Farrell received his master's degree from University College Dublin and has been a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland, where he studied law.
He is the managing director of Thayer Ventures, a San Francisco-based firm which invests in technology companies focusing on travel and hospitality industries. He will be taking temporary leave from his job as he serves as the city’s mayor, returning after the summer election.
Farrell was approved for the role of interim mayor 6-3 after the board voted down its president, London Breed, who will be running for mayor in June and had been serving as acting mayor following Lee’s death from a heart attack late last year, Omaha World-Herald reports.
The vote came after three hours of public comment from the city’s residents, many who claimed that racism was behind the board’s moves to have Breed, a black woman, replaced as acting mayor.
Others, including some board members, said that having Breed as interim mayor is an unfair advantage against the other seven mayoral candidates, whereas Farrell is not on the ballot. Some critics said they were uncomfortable with Breed serving as both mayor and board president, in charge of both the executive and legislative branches of the city.
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The winner of the June election will serve out the rest of Lee’s term. The next scheduled mayoral election will be held in November 2019.