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Corpus Christi has a new mayor: Joe McComb

At-large City Council member Joe McComb takes the oath of office and officially becomes Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb before members of his family in council chambers at City Hall on May 18. Courtesy photo

After months of turmoil and uncertainty, the Corpus Christi City Council swore in a new mayor May 18. At-large council member Joe McComb became Mayor Joe McComb at 1:30 p.m. when he took the oath of office.

McComb won the May 2 special election for mayor with 52.2 percent of the vote out of a field of eight candidates. With such a solid show of support behind him, he told those attending the swearing-in that the new word they would hear most over the next 18 months of his term would be “urgency.”

Despite the fact his office has no furniture, he said he would jump into action immediately in working on the city’s problems.

“We’ve got some challenges ahead of us,” McComb said in a short speech after the swearing-in. “One of the things I learned over the years is that whether it’s city, state or federal government, they can’t solve all your problems. We’re going to try to do everything we can to better the city of Corpus Christi, but we can’t do it without you.”

He acknowledged the team that kept the city moving forward its five five months without a mayor. He presented a dozen yellow roses each to Mayors pro tem Carolyn Vaughn and Lucy Rubio and City Manager Margie Rose. Vaughn and Rubio each served as mayor after the sudden resignation of Dan McQueen, who was elected in the General Election in November but resigned 37 days after his own swearing-in.

“Through the leadership of our two mayors pro tem, the council continued to move the city forward,” McComb said of Vaughn and Rubio.

While presenting Rose with her flowers he continued.

“She stepped in at a low point in this city when the city manager resigned in the middle of a water crisis,” he said. “She didn’t miss a lick, didn’t complain, she got in there and did her job. She didn’t get the welcome she deserved either, so on behalf of the council, we appreciate what you’ve done and look forward to working with you in the future.”

One last piece has to fall into place before the City Council is back to full force. They have to appoint someone to fill the at-large position left vacant when McComb became mayor.

The process for choosing McComb’s replacement is already underway. Applications for the position are being accepted through June 2, according to a plan approved by the council at its May 16 meeting.

Council members will review the applications before meeting in executive session June 13 to narrow the field. Public interviews for finalists will be held June 20, followed by a second executive session. The final decision will be made in open session.

The appointment will come just in time for the council’s annual budget process to begin. Budget decisions must be finalized in the fall.

So far, three of the mayoral candidates have announced they will apply for the position:

• Larry White, retired chemical engineer

• Ray Madrigal, former at-large council member

• Margareta Fratila, owner of European Floral Designs

Mayoral candidates Nelda Martinez and Mark DiCarlo announced they will not seek the position. Former at-large council member Chad Magill told reporters he is considering throwing his hat in the ring.

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