Poteet council hires Guerra as associate judge



Poteet City Administrator Eric Jiminez welcomes new Municipal Court Associate Judge, Elsie Guerra. Guerra was appointed during the City Council meeting on January 7. She brings 14 plus years’ experience as municipal judge to her new position and was chosen out of three applicants. DIANA GUTHRIE | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Poteet City Administrator Eric Jiminez welcomes new Municipal Court Associate Judge, Elsie Guerra. Guerra was appointed during the City Council meeting on January 7. She brings 14 plus years’ experience as municipal judge to her new position and was chosen out of three applicants. DIANA GUTHRIE | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The regular meeting of the Poteet City Council was delayed 17 minutes to allow two members of the council and the city secretary to finish interviews in a private session. Once called to order, all members were present.

Citizens’ Comments

Mayor Willie Leal, Jr. called for Citizens’ Comments. The only one signed up was Dave Collett, who said that the previous night’s Poteet Shalom Community meeting was a very good one with speakers from the council, the Pleasanton Express and other organizations. The February meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Poteet Grange. It will be another open forum for interacting with one another and keeping up with what’s happening in the community. A “Meet the Candidate” forum will be held on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Grange. Then, on April 16, also a Thursday at the Grange, will be another candidate forum including those running for the Poteet School Board and Poteet City Council.

Minutes

Nick Sanchez moved to accept the minutes from the meetings of November 5 and December 3. Richard Castillon seconded. Also, voting for were Rick T. Flores, Sr. and Jesse Leal. Denise Sanchez voted against, because she was not at the meeting.

New Business

An amendment for the 2019-20 budget was passed to allow $3,190 from the seized vehicle auction sales to be added to the Police Department’s Miscellaneous Budget. The funds will be used to purchase COPsync software.

The City is working toward applying for a Texas Community Development Block Grant, but a couple of things have to be done officially beforehand. The first administrative action required is to pass a resolution regarding Civil Rights Activities, to ensure there are policies in place. Motion was made and passed unanimously.

The next resolution was to designate authorized signatories for contractual documents and those requesting funds from the grant. Those will be the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, City Administrator and the City Secretary. Motion passed unanimously.

Associate Judge Appointment

Three people applied and were interviewed by a committee. Flores, who was on the committee, along with Jesse Leal and City Secretary Abigayle Frautschi, said there was a tie in the final tally of points. Each interviewee was rated on a point system, up to 50 points. He thanked all who came to interview. The tie was between Elsie Guerra and Mayor Leal. Nick Sanchez, as Mayor Pro Tem, conducted this portion of the meeting.

He called Ms. Guerra to the podium and asked her about herself. She has worked 14 years as municipal judge and before that has more than two years’ experience as court clerk. When asked what her position was on low bail for drug offenses, she said depending on whether it was a first, second or third degree felony, she would impose the highest legal amount of bail, which could be from $30,000 to $75,000. N. Sanchez said he was glad to hear that since most get away with about $10,000 in bail now.

Leal was brought to the podium and asked the same question. He explained that there were many mitigating factors in that, such as what degree felony, was the person armed, did he try to flee arrest. He added that working with Federal law enforcement and seeing border control, he has a very low tolerance for drug dealers.

D. Sanchez said that she had a hard time on this, but she’s here for the community and what’s right for them. She moved to appoint Guerra as Associate Judge. N. Sanchez seconded, adding that experience won out for him. The Mayor, of course, did not vote, but all others voted for Guerra’s hire.

Executive Session

The Council then went into executive session from 7:10 p.m. to 7:39 p.m. to discuss a lawsuit and the annual performance review of the city administrator. Upon returning, no action was taken.

Reports

There were no representatives from either the Library Advisory Board or the Park Foundation, so there were no reports. Department and staff reports are included in the council members’ packets and no longer presented individually.

Council Comments

N. Sanchez thanked those present for coming and hoped that 2020 was better than 2019 for everyone. Flores reiterated that decisions are not always easy, but they keep the best interest for the city in mind. Castillon echoed that sentiment, adding that they have an amazing team and a council that work together. He asked for prayers for the nation and the city.

Mayor Leal said there were a lot of new projects in the future. He tries to let folks know about the community events and activities through his weekly column in the Express.

Meeting adjourned at 7:42 p.m.

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