Chuck Guzman was appointed to the vacant District 4 seat during an Emergency Devine City Council meeting held on Tuesday, April 7 at 3:00 pm.
The move was made after Council voted to postpone the upcoming General Election from May 2 until November 3.
Council had previously declined to appoint Guzman to the seat during a split vote in a Special meeting held on April 2.
The District 4 seat has been vacant since Jennifer Schott’s resignation in January. Guzman is one of four candidates running for the seat, along with Jesus E. Hernandez, Kathy Lawler, and Richard Covarrubia Jr.
At the April 7 meeting, Mayor Cory Thompson said the District 4 seat was on the agenda because it had been requested by three Council members, and asked them to identify themselves.
District 3 Councilman David Espinosa said he made the initial request to revisit the topic.
“Reason being, we’re in such a state of condition and health at this point and I feel that it’s really, really important that we try to have all five Council members available,” Espinosa said. “We don’t know just how bad this thing [COVID-19] may be, and hopefully it won’t, but I still want the City to have the opportunity to proceed forward with Council members available at any given time.”
After the resignations of Schott and former District 1 Councilman David Valdez left just three sitting members, Council was unable to hold Special or Emergency meetings until April 2, when Valdez called in as a holding member in order to form a quorum to allow the unanimous appointment of Rufino Vega to the District 1 seat.
Espinosa pointed out that if all the Council seats were full, two members could be become ill and there would still be a quorum.
“I’m sure the City’s got agendas to meet, deadlines to meet, paperwork…I’m sure you’re aware of this too,” Espinosa said. “So that’s my only reason that I feel that we should go ahead and appoint somebody to this position at this particular time.”
Vega and District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez also requested the matter be put on the agenda.
When Thompson asked for nominations, Espinosa made a motion to appoint Guzman.
“He is a Grand Knight for the city of Devine for the Catholic Church,” Espinosa said. “He’s a people person, he’s a straight shooter, and I feel that he would be quite an asset to the City.”
Vega seconded the motion, which passed 3-0 with Lopez’s vote.
District 5 Councilwoman Debra Randall abstained.
Espinosa first floated the idea of appointing someone to the District 4 seat during the March 27 Emergency meeting. Randall was opposed to the idea and asked that it be postponed until the April 2 meeting, when Espinosa initially nominated Guzman.
Lopez provided the second for that motion, which both Vega and Randall voted against. That left the matter up to Thompson, who as mayor votes in the case of a tie.
Thompson refused to vote, leaving the motion deadlocked at 2-2 and causing it to fail. Motions require a simple majority in order to pass.
The next Regular Council meeting is scheduled for April 21. Council meetings are now broadcast live, and can be seen by visiting www.cityofdevine.com and clicking on the “Live Council Meetings” link at the top of the page.
Meetings are also archived for later viewing. The April 7 meeting is available in full.
By Marly Davis