District 3 Councilman David Espinosa was appointed Mayor Pro-Tem and City consultants, advisors, Municipal Court staff, and advisory board members, including Parks Board newcomer J.B. Pompa, were approved at the Devine City Council meeting last Tuesday, May 18.
Former District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez served as Mayor Pro-Tem prior to the recent General Election, and recommended that Espinosa be appointed to the role in his stead.
“In line with normal tradition, as far as I know, Mayor Pro-Tem has always gone to the elder statesman of the table,” Mayor Cory Thompson said, “the one who’s been here the longest. Are you okay with that?”
“It would be my honor,” Espinosa replied.
A motion by District 4 Councilwoman Kathy Lawler and District 2 Councilwoman Angela Pichardo to appoint Espinosa as Mayor Pro-Tem for the next year passed unanimously with the support of District 1 Councilman Rufino “Flipper” Vega and District 5 Councilwoman Debra Randall.
Council had a list of appointments for consideration, and Randall asked if everyone on it wanted to maintain their positions.
Thompson said he wasn’t sure, but that ordinarily that someone who wished to step down would notify the City.
“There’s a vacancy on the Planning and Zoning board,” Lawler pointed out, which Thompson said Council would have to fill at some point.
“I would like to see the Planning and Zoning board possibly reach out,” Thompson said. “That’s kind of the way we’ve dealt with the Parks Board in the past is to reach out to like-minded people.”
When the five-member Parks Advisory Board was formed in August 2017, it was with the stipulation that it consist of one representative from each of the City’s five voting districts.
The Parks Board has seen more member turnover than other advisory boards, with Council members sometimes struggling to fill vacancies in their districts.
“The vacancy is not advertised in any way?” Pichardo asked. “It’s just word of mouth?”
“We’ve advertised vacancies before, with I believe it was the Parks Board,” Thompson said. “And it could be done again. We would just have to, I guess, what the Planning and Zoning wants to do.”
After receiving clarification from City Attorney Tom Cate that there are no state laws pertaining to advisory boards and that Council could fill them as they see fit, Espinosa recommended that the City advertising the Planning and Zoning vacancy, but allow that board to recommend a candidate to Council.
Devine resident Kevin Hicks pointed out that some members of the Airport Advisory Board have been on it for years, and that advisory board appointments are not lifetime appointments.
Thompson said a benefit of having long-term advisory board members is their experience and knowledge of why past decisions were made.
“On this Council, none of us actually own planes, none of us fly like that,” Thompson said. “And so to have people on the airport board who actually have businesses out at the airport, who actually have planes out at the airport is critical, because they understand what’s happening out at the airport.”
Lawler said she was afraid that if Council made all the advisory boards consist of one representative from each voting district that it would be difficult to fill vacancies.
“I mean, we’re missing two people on the Parks Board now,” Lawler said.
Randall said that prior to her election, she remembered Council discussing that the Planning and Zoning and Airport Advisory boards benefit from specialized knowledge.
“You need specific knowledge on some things here,” Randall said. “I’m not saying my district doesn’t have anybody, but there could be no one in my district that would be able to fill those spots, so we would always have a vacancy.”
A Randall-Pichardo motion to approve the Council appointments as listed passed unanimously with the backing of Espinosa, Lawler, and District 1 Councilman Rufino “Flipper” Vega.
The approved appointments are as follows: City Attorney – Tom Cate; Municipal Court judge – Anna Whorton; Alternate judges – Joseph Appelt and Bill Tschirhart; Prosecutor – Bobby Jack Rushing; Library Board – Kelli Maxwell, Grace “Desi” McElwee, Hap Squires, Lee Davis, and Marly Davis (this reporter); Planning and Zoning Commission – Doug Wilkins, Onis Wiemers, Jim Lawler, Mike Herring, and one vacant seat; Consultants and advisors – Langford Community Management Services, SAMCO Capital Markets Inc., and Garcia & Wright; Airport Advisory Board – Vickie Pumphrey, Hap Squires, Bill Bain, Tony Crosby, Greg Coyne, and Chris Yanta; Emergency Management Coordinator – Rob Flores; Parks Board – Leslie Vail, Crystal Curiel, Mary Allison, and vacancies in District 1 and District 2.
Pompa appointed to Parks Board
Pichardo nominated J.B. Pompa to the vacant District 2 Parks Board seat, and thanked him for having donated BBQ pits to the parks in the past.
A Pichardo-Espinosa motion to appoint Pompa passed unanimously.
By Marly Davis