Following the removal of one of their own, the Agua Special Utility District board of directors has appointed a replacement to represent Sullivan City.
Ivan Sandoval, a math teacher at La Joya’s Hope Academy, was appointed and sworn in as an Agua SUD director during a meeting Monday. The appointment comes two weeks after the board voted to remove the former Sullivan City representative, Francisco “Pancho” Flores. Flores was voted off the board Oct. 23 because he had attended only four of the board’s monthly meetings over the past 12 months.
The board consists of seven members elected to represent the cities of Mission, Palmview, Sullivan City and Peñitas – the cities to which the utility provides water and sewer services to more than 14,500 customers. The remaining three board members serve the district in at-large positions.
Agua SUD attorney Frank Garza said the board vacancy had to be filled within 90 days after Flores’ removal. The decision to appoint Sandoval was a joint agreement between the board of directors, Sullivan City’s mayor and its commissioners, Garza said.
Sullivan City Mayor Leo Garcia addressed the board at Monday’s meeting on the need to fill the position even though the 30-day period Flores has to appeal his removal has not expired.
“We haven’t seen anyone from the city of Sullivan here since I became mayor five months ago,” Garcia said. “We need all the help we can get and at this point we haven’t had anyone in the city to make contact with. That’s the reason I am pushing for this nomination.”
“In the event where [Flores] does file his appeal and is successful, then he would regain his seat and [Sandoval] would be removed,” Garza said. “It’s hard to say what Flores will or will not do, though. He has not contacted the district or responded via certified mail, email, in any type of fashion regarding his absences.”
Sandoval said it was his childhood friend, Garcia, who approached him about taking the interim position. Sandoval said he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of running for the spot when Flores’ term expires in the spring. He thanked Garcia, Sullivan City commissioners, the Agua SUD board, La Joya Mayor Jose “Fito” Salinas and Peñitas Mayor Rodrigo “Rigo” Lopez for their support of his nomination and appointment to the board.
Both Sandoval and Garcia said their main concern for Sullivan City is to fix El Pinto Road, the main street which has remained unpaved for months since Agua SUD installed a sewer line down the street.
“It’s a real mess right now, that’s my priority to fix,” Sandoval said.