The Corpus Christi City Council filled five positions on the RTA Board today. The chart below shows which positions will become vacant as of June 30, 2016. After Councilwoman McIntyre moved to re-appoint George Clower, Thomas Dreyer, Conrado Garcia, and Edward Martinez, which received a second, Councilman Hunter voiced concerns about the appointment process.
“A lot of these boards are very important to our city. The RTA is one of them,” Hunter said. He went on to express his desire to see a change in the process for appointments. “I would like to come up with or discuss some alternative to the selection process.” Hunter went on to say, “I would like the opportunity to sit down with these people and get a very good idea of who they are, what they are, and what they plan on doing on these committees.”
Councilwoman Vaughn echoed Hunter’s concerns. “Councilman Hunter, I agree with you. You cannot tell who a person is by just a resume´. This board is so important that we need to do just as you said.”
Mayor Martinez said, “I think it would be unwieldy for us to interview every single board. And, how do you define which ones are high profile?” She did agree, however, with Hunter’s suggestion. “I would like to have a discussion about a formal process where you’ll have the opportunity to speak to and interview these candidates.”
City Secretary Rebecca Huerta added that she would like the opportunity to take a look at what other cities are doing and examine best practices. The Mayor agreed to this and suggested that Huerta gather the information to present to Council at a future meeting.
Councilman Magill thanked Hunter for his suggestion and said, “An interview process for high-profile boards is a great step forward.” He also expressed that he would not vote for the motion at hand because he wanted to consider each candidate separately.
Councilwoman McIntyre said, “It’s no secret that I disputed many of the committee appointments over the last couple of years, and I think that the suggestion is wonderful, but to look carefully at how we do it.” McIntyre went on to suggest a questionnaire that would allow candidates to discuss their understanding, insight, and commitment to the committee. “There are a lot of things we can do to put the right people on the right committees for the right reasons.”
“This board, the RTA, is very important because they spend taxpayer dollars. With all the things going on around them, we’ve had to do an audit of them. I am for not picking anyone for this board until we have an opportunity to look at them.” She went on to suggest that the item be tabled until interviews could be conducted.
This prompted Mayor Martinez to say, “I know they have to continue their business and that some of these positions will expire on June 30.”
The Mayor then directed Huerta to call for a vote on the motion at hand. The motion failed 5-4 with Council members Vaughn, Rubio, Garza, Magill, and Hunter voting against. The Council then proceeded to vote on individual candidates. George Clower, Conrado Garcia, Edward Martinez, and Larry Young were appointed by unanimous vote to fill four of the vacancies. Butch Escobedo was appointed by unanimous vote for the Transportation Disadvantaged slot. He replaces Thomas Dreyer who has been battling health issues.
Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day. She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.