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Sinton City Councilman unsuccessfully tries to block swearing in of council members

A Sinton City Councilman unsuccessfully tried to block the swearing in of council members Tuesday.

Building on rancor that has emerged in the past five months in a dispute over a wind turbine project, Councilman Eloy Lopez said it was wrong to swear in Pete Gonzales as mayor and Linda Guzman-Alaniz as mayor pro-tem.

Lopez and Gonzales have aired out disagreements as the city and the Sinton school district navigated the conflict over the school’s plan to build two turbines at the high school campus. That plan was halted when the district’s lawsuit against the city was tossed out by a judge last week.

Lopez had been in favor of the turbine project while Gonzales opposed it.

The mayor and mayor pro-tem are incumbents but had to retake their oaths for a new term after they were uncontested in municipal elections. Lopez said the council should vote on a new mayor and mayor pro-tem – the usual procedure following an election. But the city didn’t call an election this month because the races were uncontested.

Attorney James McKibben, who has been advising the city, pointed to a clause in the city charter that says officeholders remain in place until their successors have been elected.

“I think normally you serve until you’re replaced,” McKibben said.

City Secretary Betty Wood said the Texas secretary of state’s office gave her the same advice.