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Mission City Council may select replacement for City Councilman Gus Martinez on Monday

The Mission City Council may discuss a replacement for City Councilman Gus Martinez on Monday night.

Mayor Armando “Doc” O’caña said he asked the City Council to suggest replacements for Martinez, who must resign to become city attorney — a paid position with a six-figure salary.

GusMartinez“What I have asked each council member is to bring me one name,” O’caña said.

The City Council may discuss the matter Monday. Whether or not they’ll reach a consensus remains unclear.

While the city charter requires the City Council to fill a vacancy within 10 days, the charter imposes few restrictions on who may serve.

“Each member of the City Council shall be a resident citizen of the City of Mission, shall be a qualified voter of the State of Texas, shall have been such resident citizen of the City of Mission for a period of not less than six (6) months immediately preceding his election, and shall not be indebted to the City of Mission at the time he takes office,” according to the charter, which allows the city to pay council members a maximum of $300 per year.

O’caña said he’d already picked a candidate for the position, but didn’t want to reveal that person’s name to avoid improperly influencing members of the City Council.

Generally, though, O’caña said the City Council wanted someone with government or public service experience, someone trustworthy and someone with an open mind.

“And to have the ability to sit down and get to work,” O’caña said. “Because we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Potential replacements for Martinez include former Mission school board Trustee Rogelio “Roy” Vela Jr., local pharmacist Alberto Vela, and engineer Diana L. Izaguirre, the president of the Hidalgo County Irrigation District #6 board.

The person appointed by the City Council would represent Place 4.

O’caña won the Place 4 seat in May 2016. Martinez replaced O’caña in June 2018, when he became mayor.

The person selected to replace Martinez would serve until May 2020.

Members of the City Council may attempt to select someone who will not run for re-election, O’caña said, adding that they don’t want to provide that person with an unfair advantage.

Selecting someone without political ambitions may also allow the City Council to reach consensus quickly and avoid a deadlock, which could scuttle Martinez’s transition from elected official to city employee.

“It’s a possibility but not a full requirement,” O’caña said. “And, obviously, we’re not going to be able to dictate to that person.”

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