3 Development Corporation of Mercedes board members replaced

MERCEDES — Commissioners have voted to replace three Development Corporation of Mercedes board members.

Fernando Dominguez, Rafael Lorenzana and former mayor and county commissioner Joel Quintanilla, who served as chairman of the board, were removed Tuesday at a city commission meeting.

New commissioners Leo Villarreal and Cristella “Cris” De Leon Hernandez, both of whom took office in June, placed the item on the agenda and voted in favor of their removal. Voting with them was Commissioner Ruben “Chano” Guajardo.

De Leon Hernandez has not responded to requests for comment on the agenda item. Villarreal deferred comment to the city attorney, who also had “no comment.”

“As far as appointed positions, they serve at the will,” Guajardo said Thursday. “It’s one of those things newly elected officials usually have an opportunity to address or appoint, if they chose to, and that’s really what happened.”

The three former board members were replaced by Tony Garza, Rogelio Ortega and Joe Flores Jr.

“Mr. Quintanilla is one of my better friends, but at the end of the day, we try to do things and implement things for the betterment of Mercedes,” Guajardo said of his relationship with the now-former board chair he voted to replace.

Commissioner Howard Wade Jr., who represented the sole opposing vote, did not return calls for comment as of press time Thursday.

“We’re moving forward,” said Melissa Ramirez, the interim executive director for the corporation.

Ramirez has served as interim executive director since the resignation of Hernan Gonzalez in August.

The next corporation meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27.