El Paso, Texas - Socorro held a special meeting Saturday evening in light of El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza filing a petition for the court to review Socorro City Council's term limits.
In a surprising turn of events, council members Jesse Gandara and Willie Madrid resigned from their positions.
The unexpected move didn't come before Gandara made a motion to hold special elections in May, according to Gandara, to avoid breaking charter rules. The motion passed 4-1.
"I would ask council to make a motion to acknowledge and accept my resignation," said council member Jesse Gandara.
Gandara, along with Madrid, quickly left the building after the announcement.
Many who attended the meeting threw thier hands up and cheered with joy -- the same people that just minutes before had been holding up signs that read "Gandara resign" and "We demand justice now."
But according to Socorro spokesman Dave Garcia, the Texas Constitution says council members may still hold their seats.
"Until their replacements have been selected, they have the right to continue to perform the duties of that seat until they have been replaced," said Garcia.
Council member Maria Reyes told ABC-7 the thought doesn't rest easy with constituents. "They will still have a say in the dealings of the city, which is what the people don't want. They wanted a complete you're out."
Precinct 3 County commissioner Vince Perez released this statement after getting word the council members resigned:
"After the Attorney General concluded that the Socorro City Council likely violated the law by extending their terms in office without an election, I do not believe the Representatives should be allowed to hold their positions for an additional three months. By remaining in office and continuing to make decisions, these resignations seem disingenuous and an attempt to sidestep the law once again." said Perez.
Maya Sanchez, a resident from nearby San Elizario told ABC-7 she attended Saturday's meeting interested in what the council had to say about the recent proposed annexation of her town by Socorro. She expressed her disdain for what she calls corrupt politicians.
"Unfortunately history has shown, you can't trust an official
with the last name Gandara in this area," said Sanchez.
Gandara and Madrid stated that they would be running for re-election in May.