Posted: May 23, 2012 12:09 AM
Updated: May 23, 2012 9:45 AM
COMBES - Some people are asking where their longtime mayor is. "We pay our taxes. We ought to know what's happening with our governing body," said Ken Stolar.
Stolar has lived in Combes since the mid-90s. He's worried where Mayor Silvestre "Silver" Garcia has been.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS tried to get answers. We went unannounced to the Combes Town Hall.
After a few minutes of waiting, a clerk got Garcia on the phone for us. We asked him how many meetings he had missed. "In the last year, I wouldn't know. Just as many as probably every other council member has probably," said Garcia. He couldn't say how many meetings he is required to attend.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS checked the rules; the city of Combes must follow the Texas Local Government Code. It has a mayor and five aldermen. None of them get paid. They're all volunteers.
We filed an Open Records request to see who showed up at the meetings. In those records, we found the mayor missed five meetings between July and September of last year. State law says if a member is absent for three regular consecutive meetings, the member's office is considered vacant.
Garcia points out two of the meetings he missed were special meetings. He says right now he's busy earning a living. "I've dedicated a lot of time to the town of Combes, and I'm working to take care of my family right now," said Garcia.
The mayor did miss three regular meetings in a row in March, April and May of this year. Garcia says he was sick for the May meeting. But that's not good enough for Ken Stolar.
"He vacated his position and he knows that," said Stolar.
The Combes secretary emailed CHANNEL 5 NEWS stating the town does not have ordinances indicating procedure for what happens when council members miss three consecutive meetings.
Garcia says he may step aside, but he hasn't set a date for that.
Combes City Meeting Attendance