For the city of Wasco, there are five council positions, but on the second April meeting, there was one less person. An apparent spot next to city council member Carl Joe Hively was empty. Along with the empty spot, the name plate of former member John H. Martin was removed.
According to John Martin, it was a matter of conflict of interest. When he spoke more about his conflict, Martin said that his spot became difficult for his son, Jeff Martin, to conduct business with the city.
John Martin, who used to own American Refuse, a private waste disposal company in Wasco, had gifted his son the company. However, Jeff Martin was unable to bid waste contracts due the fact that his father was in the city council.
“Him being my blood son,” said Martin, “he couldn’t do anything for the city. The city put out a recycling contract… three different kinds and my son competitively bid those contracts.” Martin also said that it would hurt his son’s business if he could not place bids on contracts.
The Wasco City Council is looking for a new member to fill the spot since one of its members resigned on April 15.
The news was brought publicly during the April 21 city council meeting. The members voted on how the spot will be filled with a three to one vote in favor for open applications to anyone from the community
According to Mayor Danny Espitia, he said that the opening would give opportunity for positive influence. The reason why the spot needs to be filled is because it creates a possible voting tie between the council members. With the fifth spot filled, it can prevent voting ties.
On the other hand, some council members are not allowed to vote when it comes to subjects they are involved with.
“[You can] only abstain with conflict of interest,” said Espitia. Espitia gave me an example of abstaining regarding council member Tilo Cortez. Cortez cannot not vote on any housing matters for the city because he works in real estate. Thus, creating a conflict of interest.
The Wasco city council consists of five official members including the mayor. They are joined with other members of the city such as the city treasurer, clerk, manager, and committee members.
Applications are available at the Wasco City Hall on 746 8th St. and will be accepting them until May 15. The requirements to apply are at least eighteen years of age, legal resident of Wasco, and eligible to vote. The selected candidate will be chosen by the time the June 2 meeting comes.