POSTED: Friday, May 14, 2010 - 8:46pm
UPDATED: Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 10:08pm
SOCORRO--- It was supposed to be the start of a new city council for Socorro, but in an all too familiar fashion, drama reared at today's swearing in ceremony.
"The city's clerk's office did receive today a recount petition for the mayoral position. And until we get the official results, then that position will actually get sweared-in," announced a clerk representative at the council meeting.
Current Mayor Trini Lopez, who lost in last week's election by just 18 votes, is now calling for a recount.
Not for himself, but for his supporters.
"I was kind of, agreeing on the numbers, but people had been calling me, and that is why i'm going for a recount," said Lopez.
Upon hearing news of the recount, Mayor-elect Willie Gandara Sr. and his supporters walked out of the meeting.
We had the chance to interview him outside City Hall.
"He has all the right to do it. I'm not mad, the only thing I feel is that he should, could have done it Monday," said Gandara.
Apparently, Gandara had been waiting for a celebration, recruiting mariachis to play at the meeting.
They played outside instead.
But now Gandara must wait even longer to know if he's really the mayor.
"We're going to celebrate anyways, because we're still the winner," he said.
The elections department has one week to do the recount.
But the petition allowed for Mayor Lopez to stick around for another major decision; to fire current interim city manager Lorenza Fraire.
In a four-to-one vote, the new council voted to oust Fraire, who's been at the center of several controversies including the secret installation of GPS systems in city-owned cars.
Fraire didn't want to speak to us on camera.
We did ask Lopez how the council could come to a decision, in just four minutes.
"I posted the agenda 72 hours before, so everybody knew what to do in this period of time of 72 hours," he said.
The council has appointed Manny Soto, who has 35 years experience in management assistance, as the interim city manager.
At the end of the meeting, one woman made it clear what she.. And what many in Socorro want from this new council:
"Bring the respect back to Socorro. Bring it back to Socorro."