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Mabton council looks to make public works cuts

MABTON - The Mabton City Council held an executive session after last night's regular meeting to discuss the public works department. No action was taken after the session.

The executive session came about when council began discussing back pay for an employee who was fired but got his job back through a hearing. The public works employee stands to receive nearly $59,000 in back pay and benefits.

The council passed a resolution complying with an order to reinstate the employee, Frank Tijerina, and give him the back pay. The problem came when council couldn't get an accurate number on what it would cost the city.

Councilman Mario Martinez took Mabton City Clerk Kitty Zavala to task for not having the correct numbers. He repeatedly asked her how much it was going to cost the city but Zavala wouldn't, or couldn't give him an answer.

This frustrated Martinez, who then began complaining about wrong numbers in the budget report. When Zavala, who seemed to be getting frustrated herself, told Martinez she couldn't explain the numbers, Martinez told her it might be time for her to resign.

"We can't do anything as a council if we don't have correct numbers," he complained.

Mayor Pro-tem Angel Reyna, filling in for an absent Mayor Velva Herrera, said it was tough without the correct numbers but said council should pass the resolution ordering the compliance to avoid any fines that might be levied against the city by PERC, the organization that ordered Tijerina to be reinstated.

The $59,000 figure has been floated around as being close to what the city has to come up with. This led to the executive session where council discussed who should be let go to make room for Tijerina.

Reyna said during the regular meeting that the city would have to follow union seniority rules and lay off the person with the least seniority.

Also at last night's meeting the council passed a resolution directing the city's planning commission to look into reducing the city's urban growth area.

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