ESCOBARES, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Thursday evening in the city of Escobares, a special city council meeting was held where multiple city staff was fired and a new ordinance passed allowing council members to hire and fire staff.
In Starr County between the cities of Roma and Rio Grande City is the city of Escobares.
That evening’s meeting ended with the city council firing two city clerks, the city’s emergency coordinator, the fire chief, and a public works supervisor. In that same meeting, those vacancies created were filled by people who were sitting in on the meeting.
“It’s political corruption at its fullest here in the city of Escobares,” said Ivan Escobar, the city’s mayor and city manager.
Among the two clerks who were terminated, Roxanna Iracheta said she gave her resignation letter to Escobar earlier this month, but she later changed her mind after Escobar allowed her to stay employed.
Before Thursday’s meeting, Iracheta said someone on behalf of the city’s council approached her with what she calls a bribe.
“I turned [the resignation letter] in earlier because the whole [city council] started terminating people,” said Iracheta. “I actually received a bribery yesterday afternoon, apparently if I did not speak today I could keep my job.”
Iracheta did not specify who said it.
Despite an understanding between Iracheta and the Mayor, the city council members still recognized her letter of resignation as current and terminated her position.
“It’s wrong, the public should know you all are terminating people,” said Escobar.
“We’re not terminating! here are the letters!” said Lorena Cantu, the mayor pro tem of the city of Escobares.
On the agenda was an ordinance that gives the city council members the ability to hire or terminate city staff, a power usually reserved for the mayor or city manager.
When it went up for a vote, the ordinance passed with only Escobar opposed.
“So, you all can hire anybody you want without interviewing people?” said Escobar.
“Of course not!” replied Cantu.
However, the council appointed people sitting in the crowd to the newly open positions without interviewing.
Citizens watching openly disapproved of the on-the-spot hire of the city’s new clerk, a position residents said carries big responsibilities.
“I recommend you interview candidates before you jump the gun!” said one resident.
Of the chosen was Cantu’s husband who is the city’s new volunteer emergency management coordinator.
“Do you think some people might find it suspicious that your husband is now working for the city?” said ValleyCentrals, Iris Karami.
“He’s on a volunteer basis,” said Cantu. “We asked the public! There was a lot of people as you know he volunteered himself ok?”
“We had to fill those positions that were terminated, that had resigned because the city has to be opened 24-7,” said Cantu.
As for the bribe, Iracheta said she received, Cantu said she is not aware of any bribes from council members.
Meanwhile, Mayor Escobar said he is worried about the future of the city.
“I don’t see the city moving forward, the way we are moving. We are not moving forward,” said Escobar.