Attitudes chippy at City meeting

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

The tension was electric at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Port Isabel City Commission. With elections just over a month away, commissioners turned their attention to each other just as often as they did the items on the meeting agenda.

The tone was set at the start of the meeting during a discussion of a legal matter that began last year.

City Manager Jared Hockema reported that the City was set to make a partial payment of $22,874 to attorney Humberto Silva for fees accrued from representing the City in the litigation between it and members of the Commission last spring.

In a strange twist, former City attorney Robert Collins continued to file motions on behalf of the City after his termination in May, forcing the City to repeatedly appear in court to argue against them. It was some months later that a judge ruled Collins was not, in fact, a representative of the City.

Mayor Joe E. Vega spoke up during the discussion to distance himself from the actions of the former city attorney and the issue of attorney’s fees. “He did not represent me,” Vega said of Collins. He added that his own attorney never billed the City for his services. “The City sent him three checks,” he said, which were sent back.

The Commission voted to approve the payment to Silva, with Vega and Commissioner Maria de Jesus “M.J.” Garza abstaining.

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