By LOUIE DIAZ
The San Benito City Commission voted to make changes to the city’s Economic Development Corporation during a regular commission meeting on Tuesday, June 1.
City Attorney Mark Sossi explained that the EDC is a separate legal entity and does not fall under the city charter. He also said that the city charter does not grant any individual commissioner the exclusive right to make nominations.
Commissioner Pete Galvan argued that the ordinance was unfair because it could potentially strip away a commissioner’s right to nominate a candidate to the EDC Board of Directors.
“I don’t think that it’s fair for democracy… So basically, if the city commission votes to reject the nomination one, two, three times, now the vote goes to the commission at-large. I would basically lose my right at a nomination,” Galvan said.
Sossi answered that he does not believe the ordinance to be unfair.
“No, I don’t think it’s unfair at all; I think it gives each commissioner three bites at the apple to nominate candidates that they believe would best serve the community,” Sossi said.
Commissioner Rene Garcia chimed in on why he believes the ordinance is fair.
“It aligns us with fairness to the utmost. It doesn’t give anyone here additional power, additional authority over the other, it makes it equal because we are going to work as a commission,” he said.
After contentious back and forth, the commission voted 3-2 in favor of Ordinance 2586-05-21. A motion was made to pass the ordinance by Garcia and seconded by Commissioner Rene Villafranco. The new ordinance changes the appointment and removal process of the EDC Board of Directors. Garcia, Villafranco, and Mayor Pro Tem Carol Lynn Sanchez voted in favor of the ordinance. Galvan and Mayor Ricardo Guerra voted ‘nay’ to the ordinance. After deliberation in executive session, the city voted 3-2 on a new three-year contract to replace the City Manager Manuel De La Rosa’s previous contract. The city manager’s salary will be increased to $175,000 a year. According to Sossi, the city manager’s salary will remain at $175,000 for two years and increase to $185,000 by year three, provided that the manager receives a favorable evaluation. Evaluations will be done only once per year and De La Rosa will not receive a $5,000 stipend following every positive review. Sanchez, Garcia, and Villafranco voted in favor of the new contract. Guerra and Galvan voted ‘nay.’
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