Mayor pro tem survives ouster attempt
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.