Progreso seeks to fill vacancies after mayor jailed

2 weeks ago 39

PROGRESO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The City of Progreso has quite a few vacancies when it comes to elected leadership.

On Dec. 28, 2023, Councilmember Armando Cavazos passed away.

Councilmember Blas Medrano did not seek re-election.

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Mayor Gerardo "Jerry" Alanis was arrested on federal drug trafficking charges in March and held without bond.

At the city’s April 1, meeting the agenda for the executive session lists: "Legal aspects of Council Vacancies and Elections."

In 2010, voters approved a city charter for Progreso.

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After the city charter was adopted, Progreso was supposed to switch from a Board of Aldermen, which had a mayor and four aldermen, to a City Council with a mayor and five councilmen.

Progreso is still operating with a mayor and four aldermen. It still refers to the City Council as the "Board of Alderman” on its official website.

Progreso is operating with just three city council members and is a problem for community members demanding a vote or appointment.

The City Attorney explained the vacancy is a violation of the Texas Code, but there’s no punishment if a city does not have the position filled.

“You're supposed to do it within 120 days, there's no recourse regardless,” Villalobos said.

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This is Mayor Alanis’ first absence from a meeting since his March arrest.

If there are more absences he could be removed from his elected position, “after three regular meetings, if he's absent, then the commission has the authority. If they find that his absences are without an excuse to declare the position vacant.”

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