meeting moved to Civis Center: Rangra and council members to go?

Zimmer resigns, Citizens call for Mayor Rangra's resignation

Bryon Garrison
Zimmer resigns, Citizens call for Mayor Rangra's resignation

City Manger Erik Zimmer has resigned and the city will accept his resignation tonight. This may be the final straw for citizens that have watched as one official after another has resigned. The Rangra regime is known for political interference with management of the city and making it difficult for independent thinkers like Zimmer.

Mayor Avinash Rangra in the past, has been accused of violating the Texas Open Meeting Act (TOMA).    A lawsuit was filed against Rangra for the alleged violation and this suit reached the Texas Supreme Court, but was subsequently dismissed on a technicality. Rangra continues to meet regularly with council members outside of chambers and  has allegedly discussed city issues publicly in full view of citizens.

Under Mayor Rangra’s watch, the city has refused to take any action to discipline wrong doing among city employees. Rangra has often pointed out that his position has no official power, however, he has claimed credit for the firing of former City Manager Jesus Chuy Garcia as well as former Finance Director Ricky Chavez.  

Former Alpine City Councilman Michael Castelli has issued a public statement alerting citizens about tonight’s city council meeting to accept Erik Zimmer’s resignation. The meeting will be held in the civic center at 6 pm. In his letter, Castelli calls for the resignation of Mayor Avinash Rangra and Councilors Angie Bermudez and Julian Gonzalez.

Some citizens are calling for another attempt at recalling the mayor, who was recently reelected. His two opponents split the opposition vote in the last election. Voter apathy has also been a problem in Alpine with very low voter turnout, so a second recall effort may prove as daunting as the first.

Zimmer submitted his 60 day notice prior to last Tuesdays’s meeting. Councilman Jim Fitzgerald was devastated when he heard the news of Zimmer's resignation. "We finally got someone in there who could turn the city around," he said.

Former Councilman Castelli, who resigned last month, is leading the move to attempt a second recall of Mayor Rangra. In his public letter to Alpine citizens he states, "Many of your fellow citizens feel it is more important that Mayor Rangra/Julian Gonzales/ Angie Burmudez resign and to keep Erik(Zimmer) on the job." Castelli urged citizens to show up tonight and express their opinion on this matter.


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