Hesperia has a new mayor: Thurston "Smitty" Smith.

It's the city council's annual changing of the guard, handing the mayoral role (as well as that of their as-needed substitute, the mayor pro tem) to a different council member.

Smith replaces outgoing mayor Mike Leonard, one of only a handful of council members in the city's 20 year history to be reelected while sitting in the mayor's or mayor pro tem's position.

Councilwoman Rita Vogler was named mayor pro tem for 2009. Both positions were decided by 5-0 votes at Tuesday night's council meeting.

In Hesperia, as in many American cities, the mayor's position is a largely ceremonial position, with most of the mayoral duties revolving around running city council meetings and the like. Traditionally, the mayor pro tem becomes mayor the following year. Should the council follow tradition in December 2009, Vogler will be mayor for a second time in 2010.

"I call myself a citizen of this city," said Smith, currently halfway through his first four-year term on the council. "I will do all that I can to truly make this a city of progress," he said, referring to the city's former motto.

Smith said he plans to organize a new volunteer service program for city residents.

The next meeting of the Hesperia City Council will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.

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