La Joya undergoes post-election personnel changes

Less than a week after a new majority of the La Joya City Council was sworn in, the city administration is already undergoing changes.

During a special meeting on Saturday, the city council approved the hiring of a new city attorney, the hiring of a special counsel, and the resignation of the municipal judge.

Roberto Jackson, the previous La Joya city attorney, was hired Saturday to replace Kennedy Salinas who had resigned from the position earlier in the week, according to newly sworn-in Mayor Isidro Casanova.

Jackson supported Casanova, who had been the city’s police chief, during the election and both previously served on the city council together.

Casanova and his running mates on the “We are La Joya” slate — Laura Mendiola-Macias and Roger Hernandez — were elected to the city council during the city’s runoff elections on Dec. 10.

Frank Garza, the attorney for the Agua Special Utility District, was hired as special counsel to handle legal matters stemming from violations of regulations set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The violations, Casanova said, dealt with failing to file reports to TCEQ.

The council has yet to hire a new municipal judge to replace Alex Cantu, who had resigned Saturday morning, but Casanova said they will likely do so by mid-January.

He said they’re also considering hiring alternate judges and possibly opening up the municipal court in the evenings or on Saturdays.

“So those are ideas that we’re throwing around,” Casanova said.

As the new mayor, Casanova said he had met with a few department heads but planned to speak to all of them after the holidays.

“After the holidays, I’m going to get together with them and start talking to them and see what the plans are for the future,” he said.

However, no new personnel changes are expected, he added.

“We just want to make sure we’re all on the same page and that they know what our expectations are.”