El Campo’s first almost directly-elected mayor said he looked forward to working with staff shortly after taking an oath of office.
Chris Barbee, a returning councilman, earned that post during November balloting thanks to the 2,655 to 884 passage of a City Charter amendment calling for the top vote collector among at-large council members to be named mayor and the second most vote-getter as mayor pro tem.
Barbee won the five-way race delayed from May to November by Gov. Greg Abbott’s order in response to the COVID-19 disaster collecting 1,920 votes.
Eugene Bustamante, a political newcomer, finished second with 1,826 votes and was sworn in as mayor pro tem. Incumbent Philip Miller, previously the mayor pro tem, finished third and takes an at-large post with 1,647 votes. Other hopefuls Ralph Novosad and Mindi Snyder collected 1,573 and 1,345 votes, respectively.
District 1 Councilwoman Anisa Vasquez was also returned in November balloting, collecting 579 votes. Not present due to a death in her family, she will be sworn in at the beginning of the next council session.
Outgoing Mayor Randy Collins received a salute for all his efforts during the past 10 years of service to the city, collectively 20 years since he was first elected.
Collins thanked all staffers and council members individually while also calling for economic development efforts to continue and for citywide Wi-Fi to be put into place.
“Do not be budget misers. Spend money when needed, spend conservatively, but don’t horde,” he told council.
Collins urged council to work together, adding, “Partisan politics does not have a place in city government.”