Council budget committee will undergo change after call for diversity

The city’s influential Budget Oversight Committee will undergo a change in membership and leadership, a week after the chair announced she would be stepping down to make way for more diversity.

Councilman Al Austin, who represents parts of North Long Beach, has been appointed chair, and Councilman Roberto Uranga, who represents part of West Long Beach and Bixby Knolls, will replace Councilwoman Stacy Mungo, who had served as chair for the previous four years.

Mungo announced June 11 that she was stepping down as chair and asked Mayor Robert Garcia appoint Austin as chair.

Uranga will join Austin and Councilwoman Suzie Price.

In a statement, Austin thanked Garcia for his confidence in appointing him as chair and said he was looking forward to being a good steward of the city’s resources during a period when the city is facing a $41 million budget deficit this fiscal year.

“We will embrace innovation, inclusivity and balanced solutions, and continue to challenge ourselves to improve equity and efficacies in governance and delivery of public services,” Austin said in a statement.

Uranga said that having a representative from West Long Beach was significant because it has at lot of needs that need to be addressed. His district hasn’t been represented on the three-person committee since 2006 when his wife, Tonia Reyes Uranga, served on the committee.

“West Long Beach has needed a lot of attention for a lot of time,” Uranga said. “I’ll hopefully be able to draw a lot more attention to it by by working on this committee.”

The committee, which typically meets a handful of times per year, has only met twice this year and has yet to announce its next meeting.

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