At Buckingham Palace, it takes place every other day. In Hesperia, the Changing of the Guard is a once a year occurrence.

"I must thank my fellow council members for letting me be your mayor," Mayor Rita Vogler said at Wednesday night's city council meeting.

Vogler ended her one-year term as mayor -- her first in nine years in office -- and handed the position to former mayor pro tem Mike Leonard, who was chosen mayor by a unanimous vote of the five-member council. Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith was selected as the new mayor pro tem.

Hesperia's mayor serves as chairman of city council for 12 months. The mayor pro tem fills in when the mayor is unavailable. All five current members of the council have served as mayor or as mayor pro tem at some point in their elected careers.

"My first act as mayor is to honor Rita for all her hard work last year with this little plaque here," Leonard said.

Or maybe not: On the plaque, her name was spelled "Volger."

"I love it anyway," she laughed.

Leonard also used his new bully pulpit to address residents concerned over Victorville's suit against the city, concerning the planned move of Valley-Hi Toyota from that city to Hesperia.

"On behalf of the city council," Leonard said, reading from a prepared statement, "I want to assure you that we have been working closely with our city attorney from the very start and believe we are within the letter of the law in our actions. Despite comments in the press, Valley-Hi Toyota approached us and we were not proactively poaching a business from Victorville."

Victorville Mayor Terry Caldwell accused Hesperia of doing just that in an article published in the December 4 edition of the Hesperia Star.

"The city council strongly supports a free market local economy," Leonard continued, "And we believe entrepreneurs and business owners should not be restrained by unwarranted governmental action in the pursuit of success.

"We feel strongly that the courts will support this project and we will bring Valley-Hi Toyota to Hesperia."

More than just a mayoral era came to an end Wednesday night:

"I would like to thank [Daily Press reporter] Hillary Borrud for all her hard work," Vogler said at the end of the meeting. "She's served us very well."

The meeting was the last Hesperia City Council meeting to be covered by Borrud, who departs the High Desert for the Bulletin in Bend, Ore. later this month. She has covered the city of Hesperia for the Daily Press since August 2006.

The next meeting of the Hesperia City Council will be held on December 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.