Metcalf Prioritizes Road Maintenance as Mayor

Natalie Bunting, staff writer

Moraga residents Mike Metcalf and Howard Harpham bring new perspective to the town council as the newly appointed Mayor and Vice Mayor, respectively.

Before joining the town council, Vice Mayor Harpham was a criminal attorney for 30 years where he commonly dealt with criminal law.  According to Haphram,  he was exposed to a “large variety of people.”

Metcalf previously worked for Chevron oversees. He has now been retired for 12  years.  His children attended Campolindo and he still remains a loyal Campo sports fan.

Last year, Metcalf served as the Vice Mayor.  The town council annually reappoints the mayor and vice mayor so that all of the council members have the opportunity to be mayor.

As Mayor, Metcalf hopes to repair the neighborhood roads, which will require “many millions of dollars,” and will take about five years.  However, he said the completion of the task primarily depends on the Moraga residents’ consent: “We have to get the people in town to tell us they want it to happen.”

Although “there’s no day to day operating” as Vice Mayor, Harpham said, the job can be emotionally difficult because “you can’t give people as much as you want.”  One hot-button issue this year is the use of park space.  The local park is “like a public resource” with a variety of possible uses.  According to Hapham, “There’s the people who want to walk their dogs there, there’s the people who want to play soccer, there’s the mom’s with young kids who want to have picnics,” and “there’s old people who just like to walk around because it keeps them active…There’s not enough park to give to everyone, so in some fashion you have to divide it up.”

According to Harpham, Moraga has what is known as a “weak mayor system,” which means the town manager, not the mayor, is the chief operator and has the ability to select the town engineer and the town accountant.  The mayor conducts public and ceremonial meetings.

Typically, after one year the Vice Mayor becomes Mayor.