EL PASO, Texas - The City of Socorro is starting to lay the groundwork for an election this May. At a meeting Thursday, council members voted on several items, including amending their city charter to comply with Senate Bill 100, the bill that led to the extension of their term limits.
This meeting was the first step Socorro is taking in the annexation of neighboring areas. It was the official first public hearing, but the hearing lasted four minutes and no one had an opinion to share. Instead, Mayor Pro-Tem Gloria Rodriguez shared hers.
"They have wrongly accused us of being corrupt but I don't know what they are all talking about because we don't know what the corruption is about," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez denied wrong-doing by extending their election terms without voter input. she said they only followed their understanding of Senate Bill 100. One of the requirements under the bill is if you're going to extend your term limits, you also have to amend your city charter, which the Socorro council agreed to put on the ballot for the may 11th election.
They also opened up Council members Jesse Gandara and Willie Madrid's seats and voted to put a tax issue on the ballot that will ask voters if they can move money around to fund the new fire department.
But they skipped agenda item 11, which was a vote to adopt an ordinance to annex nearby land. A district judge just issued a temporary restraining order, preventing them from further action until the District and county attorneys' issues with Socorro are resolved at next week's hearing.
Jesse Gandara also put an item on the agenda related to County Commissioner Vince Perez for using his elected office to gain preferential treatment for his employees and unethical behavior.
"I think it is highly hypocritical for Commissioner Vince Perez who ran on nothing other than being an ethical county commissioner," Gandara said. "With his first major obstacle was having his executive assistant charged for unethical behavior for a crime. The excuse that he gives is its personal, which to me must mean that it's okay."
This all stems from allegations from Gandara the Sheriff's Department treats him and city employees differently than county employees, specifically Perez's employees. Gandara held a press conference on that topic Thursday morning. Perez has responded by saying he is only trying to distract from the fact that he was holding office illegally.