The Agua Special Utility District Board appointed Roel De Hoyos earlier this month to serve as a director on the board following a resignation in September.
“I’m an educated person, you know I’ve got a bachelor’s degree. I have been living within my community here since 1987, over where we’re at now,” he said. “And I was born and raised here within La Joya ISD, so I don’t think there’s any better qualifications than that to give back to my community.”
De Hoyos replaces former District 3 director Narciso Solis, who resigned to run for constable.
The Agua board opened Solis’ spot up to applicants interested in serving in the position, but, Board President Maribel Diaz said, no one applied.
The board heard De Hoyos had expressed interest in serving on the board in the past, which prompted his name coming up for appointment.
Diaz said she feels De Hoyos is an individual who will work constructively on the board.
“He’s an educator who’s worked with the district for 25-plus years,” she said. “He’s a family man. Very nice, he’s committed to serve the community and here for the right reasons — to serve his area.”
Serving on the board, Diaz said, is a tough gig. Agua SUD has faced its share of scandal, not the least of which is the organization’s connection to a wide-ranging federal corruption probe in recent years that resulted in charges against over a dozen individuals.
This summer, in reaction to that “mismanagement” the Texas Legislature passed a bill that would allow Agua SUD to be placed in receivership.
Inauspiciously, issues at the organization later this summer prompted criticism over water outages and notices to boil water.
Diaz attributed the lack of interest in serving on the board to turmoil and the criticism it’s drawn.
“There’s situations that we’ve been in,” she said. “We’re in all types of litigation, so sometimes it’s just hard for someone to take on something like this.”
Not long after being appointed, De Hoyos had become acquainted with that criticism. He was frustrated about an anonymous page on Facebook that had already “trash talked” him.
Still, De Hoyos said, he hopes to be a voice for accountability and transparency at the organization.
“There’s a lot of people that have put a black eye on politics, and you know, I’m tired of it,” he said. “I’m tired of how there can be so much injustice all the way around, and those politicians, they get in there to serve themselves, [and] hurt the community.”