SOUTH EL MONTE — The City Council, beset by factional rivalries in recent years, on Tuesday pledged a new spirit of cooperation after last week's bitterly contested recall election.
With some expecting a last stand by former Mayor Stan Quintana, who was thrown out of office by voters last week, the four remaining councilmen uneventfully certified the results of the Feb. 5 special recall election and reorganized the council.
Then they all expressed their desire to "get back to business," as several of them put it.
Quintana did not attend the special council meeting. The four councilmen unanimously selected Councilman Jim Kelly as the new mayor and Councilman Art Olmos as vice mayor.
"There are going to be issues," Kelly said after the meeting. "But whatever they are, we'll resolve them and go on. The bickering is going to be gone."
Because the former mayor had prepared an agenda for the Tuesday council meeting that included "reorganization" of the city's commissions, Quintana had been expected by some to use his lame-duck status to have himself appointed as a member of the city's Planning Commission. Quintana could not be reached for comment.
The week preceding Tuesday's special council session, held because of a state requirement for certification of the election, was full of rumors regarding Quintana's intentions.
Some council members said they doubted whether Quintana had ever planned to participate in Tuesday's meeting. "I've never seen anyone show up after a recall," Kelly said. "This is the third one I've been through."
Among the issues the council must deal with is the city's controversial redevelopment plan, which figured prominently in the recall election. Councilman Albert G. Perez proposed that the plan be placed before the voters as a referendum.
"There have been flyers circulated which said we were stuffing redevelopment down people's throats," Perez said. "Let's place it on the ballot and let the people decide."