Council Member James D. "Don" Bankhead was named Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Fullerton for 2010-11.
The most senior member of the Fullerton City Council, Councilmember James D. "Don" Bankhead was elected to his first four-year Council term in 1988, and re-elected in 1992. He left the Council briefly in the summer of 1994, and was re-elected to a four-year term in November of that year, and again in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. He has previously served as Mayor in 2008-2010, 2008-09, 2001-03, 1997-1998 and 1991-92, and as Mayor Pro Tem in 2010-2011, 2005-06, 2000-01, 1990-91, 1993-94, and 1995-97.
Councilmember Bankhead was born on the Fourth of July in DeLeon, Texas, and graduated from Valley Mills High School in Valley Mills, Texas. Following high school, he enlisted in the Navy, and was assigned to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Bataan, which saw action in the Korean War.
California became Councilmember Bankhead's home in 1954 when he was discharged from the Navy. He worked for a while in the U.S. Postal Service, General Motors and Union Oil before he was hired by the Fullerton Police Department in February 1957.
After joining the Police Department, Councilmember Bankhead quickly began to move up the ranks. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1962, to Lieutenant in 1964, and to Captain in 1978. After his promotion to Captain, he commanded the Uniform Division until 1980, and was then assigned to command the Investigation Division, a position he held until his retirement from the force in September 1988.
While he moved up the ranks, Councilmember Bankhead continued his education, earning an associate of arts degree in police science from Fullerton Junior College, and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a master's in public administration, both from California State University, Fullerton.
Immediately upon his election to office, Councilmember Bankhead became involved in a variety of committees and commissions, and has served countless hours in behalf of the City of Fullerton.
Councilmember Bankhead represents the Council on the Growth Management Authority, the Orange County Water District; the Subcommitee for Groundwater Replenishment; the North Orange County Cities Transit Assessment Study; Orange County Waste Management Commission; the Orange County Representative to the Public Safety Committee of the League of California Cities; the North Orange County Growth Management Committee for Area No. 1; and the North Orange County Leadership Forum.
Councilmember Bankhead has served as President of the League of California Cities, Orange County Chapter, and as Immediate Past President. He has also represented the Council as chairman of the Environmental Subcommittee of the El Toro Reuse Committee; Council on the Executive Steering Committee for the Orange County League of California Cities; on the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities Legislative “Strike Force;” as chairman of the Resolutions and Issues Committee of the Orange County League of California Cities; the Orange County Regional Airport Authority; the City Selection Committee of the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities; as the Orange County Representative to the League of California Cities on the Transportation, Communication and Public Works Committee; and the Inland Cities representative to the Orange County Harbor.
He has also served on the Orange County Sanitation District; the Board of Directors for the Orange County Fixed Guideway (Rail) Agency; the Public Health and Socio-Economic Task Force of the Air Quality Management District; the Restructuring Super Committee; Orange County Vector Control; the Task Force on Growth Management of the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities; the Criminal Justice Super Committee for the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities; the Independent Cities Risk Management Authority; the Fullerton Transportation Center Study Selection Panel; the Fullerton Affordable Housing Committee; on a committee of elected officials to continue the feasibility study for “light rail” being conducted by the Orange County Transportation Authority; and on the Fullerton Economic Development Team.
Active in the community, he is a member of the Fullerton Rotary - Main, the President's Circle of St. Jude Medical Center, the Fullerton Elks Lodge, the American Legion, the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, the California Peace Officers' Association, and the Sunny Hills Church of Christ. He has also been a long-time supporter of youth activities, including local Little League and soccer programs, as well as the PTA and Boy Scouts.
Honors received by Councilmember Bankhead include being named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Fullerton Rotary - Main. He was also honored by the North Orange County Community College District as the 2002 Distinguished Alumnus of the College, and by the North Orange County YWCA as the 2004 Man of the Year.
Councilmember Bankhead and his wife, Carol, have seven children and five grandchildren: Samantha and Sophia Bowen and Paige, Bo, Cody and Skyler Bankhead.