Short-Handed Hearne Govt. Still Going

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Short-handed, Hearne's government marches on.

"It's really very unfortunate what happened." said Mayor Ruben Gomez. "I even urged the councilmembers that this happened to to rerun for their seats."

But the election for the two seats now vacant after last week's resignations of James Crawford and Marc Catalina won't make a huge impact on future decision-making, according to Gomez.

"We're in a period where everything's slow," he said. "The holidays are coming up, so no. We just approved a budget with all five council people."

Past votes during the period where councilmembers may have unknowingly served wrongly shouldn't be a problem, that according to City Attorney Brian Russ, who says he hasn't looked back at past votes, but believes the results would not be changed with removal of the two former players, especially the bigger votes.

Mayor Gomez points to at least one sign that the wheels of government are continuing to turn in Hearne. The city's former public works director has been rehired in that same capacity after he left for another job.

When it comes to the search for a new city manager, Mayor Gomez will present a list of firms to the council at their next meeting Monday. They'll choose one to choose the new city manager. That process is estimated to take three months.

"I've stepped up my role as mayor to help in any way here at city hall," Gomez said.

The resignation of Ric Walton and two councilmembers shouldn't worry the citizens, Gomez said. "I feel very comfortable overall that the citizens are behind us, and we'll continue to encourage us to move forward."

But citizens we spoke to repeatedly voiced their concerns that the government is in need of some help.

"I want to reassure the citizens that we're going to do everything we need to do to make sure that the city moves forward," Gomez repeated.

Marching on, short-handed or otherwise.