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By Marc Robertson
Cotulla City Councilor Luis Allala Jr. has missed 19 of 32 meetings that have been held since he took office two years ago and was not granted an excused absence at the most recent, Thursday, April 8.
According to council policy, an elected official must submit a note or make a telephone call to offer an excuse for not attending a scheduled council meeting – including any special or emergency meetings – and those councilors present at the table will cast a vote on whether to accept the absence as excused.
Councilor Allala made contact with City Hall in advance of last week’s meeting, indicating to city staff that he had broken his glasses and was unable to drive to the AB Alexander Convention Center, where council meetings have been held for the past year.
Councilor Alfredo Gonzalez was also absent from last week’s meeting.
Mayor Javier Garcia invited the councilors present at the meeting to make a motion on granting Allala the excused absence but was met with silence. The failure of the remaining councilors – Eloy Zertuche, Reynaldo Garcia and Juan Garcia – to make a motion regarding Allala’s absence resulted in the councilor being listed as absent without a valid excuse.
Councilors present voted unanimously, however, to grant Gonzalez an excused absence.
Regulations dictate that councilors with three consecutive unexcused absences are subject to removal from their elected positions.
Councilor Allala missed two meetings out of seven after he was elected in 2019; both are listed as excused absences. In 2020, the councilor missed 13 out of 20 meetings, and councilors granted five of those absences as excused. Eight have been listed as unexcused.
In 2021, Councilor Allala has missed four out of the five meetings that have been held so far. Two are listed as excused absences.
City Hall confirmed this week that Councilor Allala has not accumulated three consecutive unexcused absences from meetings since being elected.