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Council puts its foot down, ousts police chief

MABTON - After an executive session at last night's city council meeting in Mabton, Mayor Velva Herrera told the city's police Chief, Robert Perales, she had to let him go.

When the city council passed the 2009 budget last week funding for the police chief's position was eliminated, effectively ending Perales' tenure in Mabton.

Herrera, however, refused to fire Perales and he reported to work on Jan. 1.

After the executive session Perales told the Daily Sun News that Herrera told him she was left with no choice but to let him go.

"She told me she was forced to let me go by the demand of the city council," Perales said. "In my opinion the council has completely overstepped its bounds by threatening the mayor."

Perales said there will definitely be litigation to sort this out. He feels he was improperly let go and said he plans on suing the city and individual council members.

Perales said he was shocked by the dismissal and said he and his union representative will meet with the mayor this Thursday.

Calls to Herrera went unreturned.

In the regular portion of last night's meeting the council passed an ordinance setting the wages for police officers and city personnel for the coming year.

The city's wastewater treatment operator will receive $3,281 per month. The Mabton city clerk/treasurer will get $3,142 each month and the city's deputy clerk will get $2,964 each month.

One police officer will receive $2,758 each month and another police officer will get $2,550. A police reserve officer and a part-time police clerk will receive $15 per hour.

The city's two maintenance workers are set to get $2,211 and $2,127 a month.

Mabton Mayor Velva Herrera will continue to receive a $500 a month salary and the council members will get $40 for each meeting attended.

There was no discussion from the council when they adopted the ordinance. Councilman Angel Reyna made the motion to accept the ordinance and Councilman Mario Martinez seconded it.


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