City Council excuses Vera's absences from meetings

By: Christian von Preysing Email
By: Christian von Preysing Email

LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) - Embattled Laredo Council Member Jorge Vera has not been present at the last three city council meetings.

The charter says a council member gives up their position if three consecutive meetings are missed, without being excused by the council.

Up until now, the council has unanimously moved to excuse Vera's absences.

He was excused once last week, and twice Tuesday for back-to-back meetings.

The city's public information officer said the practice is done regularly by the council.

"As a courtesy, every city council has always extended an excuse to any council members who do not attend meetings for whatever reason," Xotchitl Mora Garcia, spokesperson for the City of Laredo.

The council heard testimony yesterday by one man who said he's frustrated by a lack of representation following Vera's arrest.

We contacted council members to ask why they moved to excuse Vera during this time. Some were unavailable.

District 2 representative Esteban Rangel said he's withholding judgement until a legal outcome.

District 5 representative Roque Vela said he encouraged Vera to miss last week's meeting.

"The first meeting that he missed, I actually asked him not to show up. I knew that we were going to be talking about drug testing and the possibility of us incorporating it into our system, and the possibility of elected officials being part of the random drug testing process," said Vela.

"And I didn't think it was appropriate under the circumstances that he be a part of that at that time."

Vela said he spoke to Jorge Vera and that the councilman was not at this week's meetings because of a prior planned vacation.

Vela said Vera will return for his next meeting, Monday.

Because of an ongoing recall effort, Monday is the same day the council may have to declare a recall election against Jorge Vera.

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