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Galena Park hires new staff, amends budget to buy 3 properties

Galena Park Mayor Esmeralda Moya (center) with Veterans at the March 21, 2017 council meeting said the city will install bronze plaques for each branch of the Armed Forces on the benches in front of city hall and have the city’s Veteran’s names on a wall.

Mayor Esmeralda Moya called the council meeting to order after Interim Police Chief Reese Martin explained to the citizens the meeting rules that no one is allowed to speak out in a manner which would disrupt the business of the council.

Commissioner Rodney Chersky led the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the flag followed by the unanimous approval of the previous council meeting minutes.

The Financial Accounts Payable report through March 21, 2017 received two no votes by Commissioners Eric Broussard and Oscar Silva, Jr., but it was approved by votes of Mayor Moya, Commissioners Rodney Chersky and Barry Ponder.

Commissioners Broussard and Silva Jr. voted against amending the city’s budget so the city could spend over $270,000 to purchase three pieces of property. Again it was the same three officials, Mayor Moya, Commissioners

Chersky and Ponder who voted together to approve purchasing the property. No explanation was given for the city’s future use of the properties. The agenda listed 1900 Clinton Dr., 2114 Clinton Dr. and 105 S. Main where the properties are located. Commissioners Broussard and Silva Jr. again voting together against the hiring of Jorge Flores as a Economic Development Coordinator but Mayor Moya, Commissioners Chersky and Ponder voted to hire Flores. Before the vote was taken, Broussard said he asked the mayor how much the salary was going to be for the new position, and the mayor said she couldn’t say because that was a personnel matter and couldn’t be disclosed publicly. And when he asked the mayor what was the new position needed for and if the Coordinator was going to be a supervisor over department heads, then Mayor Moya again told him it’s a personnel matter and couldn’t be disclosed publicly.

Broussard said he asked the mayor if the new position is in the city’s charter, and she said it was, but he said he couldn’t remember seeing it. Broussard said, “Without any idea as to the job description or the salary to be paid or where the salary would come from, I had little choice but to vote no.”

Receiving unanimous council approval was the hiring of a full time police officer (Daniel Vasquez), two full time police dispatchers (Bernadette Sellers & Anabel Reyna) and two full time water meter readers (Rafael Rubio & Alex Ochoa). Also approved was the police department’s Tier 1 racial profiling report, an assignment letter from LJA Engineering services for a wastewater discharge permit renewal, and the interlocal agreement for the Goodbuy purchasing program.

Public comments at the end of the meeting came from former Commissioner’s Robert Clowers, Maricela Serna and Galena Manor citizen Rosemary Coreathers about the reopening of the Evelyn Churchill Community Center and the non-payment to the remodeling contractor Lionel Palimares owner of Petro De Luna company.