Although he has been on the job for a while, Rene Lopez Jr. was officially sworn in as Mission’s Fire Chief under the guidelines of Civil Service law.
Mission firemen filled the room at Thursday’s city council meeting in support of Lopez and to attend the swearing in ceremony.
Councilman Armando O’Cana, himself a former Mission Fire Chief, administered the oath of office as Lopez stood in front of him, holding his helmet. O’Cana explained firemen consider their helmets a line to God for protection as they enter a burning building so they always carry them with them at important events such as being sworn in as fire chief. After the ceremony, Lopez’s son, daughter and wife can up to pin the new pins on his uniform.
O’Cana told the audience Lopez had been with the department 33 years, first as a firefighter, then a deputy fire chief, the interim fire chief and now as Mission’s fire chief.
The city named Lopez interim fire chief after Luis Saldaña retired at the end of October.
In other action, the council saw pictures of the newly completed canopies for stands at the Bentsen Palm Park. The screen featured large canopies over the stands in red, yellow, green and blue, which are the colors the four baseball fields are designated for players. Each field is outlined in a different color. The council was told Mission Consolidated Independent School District recently held a tournament in the park and everyone was very happy with the facilities available.
Awarding a bid for the water and sewer relocation on Mile 2 North was held up because he lowest bidder Texas Concordia Construction did not give enough information to determine whether the company could handle the job. Following executive session Mayor Beto Salinas said a hearing would be held at the next council meeting when Texas Concordia could present on its experience and possibly get the job with a low bid of $794,775, or if not, it would go to the next bidder, 5125 Company.
Also, a bid for replacing the ceiling at the former central fire department was rescinded when the contractor selected failed to show the insurance needed to do the project. City staff was told to collect the $1,000 bid bond, rescind the bid and go out for bids again.
City staff authorized assistant city manager Aida Lerma to cancel the city’s contract for phone services with Verizon and go with Sprint at a savings of an estimated $20,000 for the city over a two-year period. Lerma said the savings amounted to 35 percent of the cost of Verizon.
The bid for weedy lot abatement was rejected and will be rebid. The lowest bidder did not show references for experience in weedy lot abatement and the second lowest bidder’s rates were not reasonable.
The council did approve a bid for purchase of benches and trash receptacles from a sole source, Paul E. Allen Company, for the purchase of 21 benches and 10 trash receptacles. Three of the benches will be used in the downtown area. The other 18 benches and trash receptacles will be used at Arnulfo “Tatan” Rodriguez Jr. Park. The bid amounted to $30,475.
In other action, April Renee Chapa was appointed to the Youth Advocacy Advisory Board to replace Veronica Vela who resigned from the board.