Mayor pro tem sur­vives ouster at­tempt

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Andy Sevilla asevilla@ac­n­news­pa­

With­out say­ing a word, Bas­trop City coun­cil mem­ber Willie DeLaRosa Tues­day night sur­vived an at­tempt by an­other coun­cil mem­ber to have him re­moved as mayor pro tem.

Coun­cil mem­ber Kay McA­nally asked the coun­cil to elect an­other mem­ber to serve as sec­ond-in-com­mand as DeLaRosa re­signed his coun­cil seat in Jan­uary to run for mayor in the May 6 elec­tion.

As per the city char­ter, a coun­cil mem­ber au­to­mat­i­cally re­signs from of­fice once he or she an­nounces can­di­dacy or files to run for an­other elected po­si­tion. The Texas Con­sti­tu­tion, how­ever, re­quires an elected of­fi­cial to re­main in of­fice un­til a suc­ces­sor is elected, City At­tor­ney David Bragg said.

“I want to make it abun­dantly clear that the rea­son I’m bring­ing this up has noth­ing to do with Coun­cil­man DeLaRosa per­son­ally,” McA­nally said. “I am bring­ing this up as a point of prin­ci­ple and pro­ce­dure for the coun­cil.”

McA­nally said since DeLaRosa re­signed his coun­cil seat, he, too, re­signed his po­si­tion as mayor pro tem, who serves as mayor when the mayor is ab­sent or un­able to per­form the du­ties of the high­est elected of­fice in the city.

“The sit­u­a­tion we have right now is that Mr. DeLaRosa is act­ing as mayor pro tem even though he has re­signed the po­si­tion,” she said. “I think the mayor pro tem po­si­tion should be held by a City Coun­cil mem­ber who has not re­signed their of­fice.”

DeLaRosa did not speak up dur­ing McA­nally’s call for a new mayor pro tem Tues­day night.

“It’s all just pol­i­tics,” he told the Bas­trop Ad­ver­tiser in an in­ter­view. “She is sup­port­ing my op­po­nent in the mayor’s race so she felt it was an un­fair ad­van­tage for me to be mayor pro tem and serve as mayor when the mayor isn’t able to do so.”

DeLaRosa said he didn’t ob­ject to McA­nally’s pro­posal to re­place him be­cause the city at­tor­ney has al­ready sub­mit­ted a memo to the coun­cil stat­ing DeLaRosa would re­main as mayor pro tem un­til the coun­cil re­places him by a ma­jor­ity vote.

The city char­ter states that the mayor pro tem is elected to a one-year term dur­ing the first meet­ing after the city’s gen­eral elec­tion. The mayor pro tem is elected by a ma­jor­ity vote of the City Coun­cil.

Bragg said Tues­day night the coun­cil could choose to re­place the mayor pro tem at any time.

McA­nally made a mo­tion to nom­i­nate coun­cil mem­ber Bill Peter­son as mayor pro tem Tues­day night, but Peter­son said “he re­spect­fully de­clined” the nom­i­na­tion.

“I would ask if any­body else would sup­port the fact that we need to make an­other se­lec­tion for mayor pro tem,” McA­nally told a quiet coun­cil, which did not sup­port her ini­tia­tive or en­deavor to make a rec­om­men­da­tion to re­place DeLaRosa.

“Even though he has re­signed, can we leave him in that po­si­tion at the mo­ment,” McA­nally asked the city at­tor­ney.

Bragg said, as per the con­sti­tu­tion, DeLaRosa would have to con­tinue to serve as mayor pro tem un­til a suc­ces­sor is elected. And since the coun­cil de­clined to take a vote to re­place DeLaRosa, he will fin­ish out his term as mayor pro tem.

After her at­tempt to re­place the mayor pro tem failed, McA­nally of­fered a sec­ond mo­tion stat­ing the coun­cil put on record its de­sire for the next city char­ter re­view com­mit­tee to add an amend­ment stat­ing that the of­fice of the mayor pro tem may not be held by a coun­cil mem­ber who has re­signed to run for an­other of­fice, and that the res­ig­na­tion would cause the coun­cil to take an im­me­di­ate vote to elect a new mayor pro tem.

That mo­tion also died on the floor Tues­day night for a lack of a sec­ond.

DeLaRosa will face off against Plan­ning and Zon­ing Com­mis­sioner Con­nie Schroeder in the open mayor’s race.

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