The City Council has appointed former Councilman George Mirabal to finish the term of Mayor Jay Price, who died of heart failure two weeks ago. Mirabal will relinquish his post as city clerk when he joins the council Monday.
Council members said they chose Mirabal because of his familiarity with the city's Administration, his record of community service and because he is Latino. Although 86% of the city's 34,365 residents are Latino, all council members are Anglo.
"I would not have appointed a non-Latino to the council. I think (we) need to reflect the makeup of the community," Councilman George Cole said. "The main criteria, though, is that (Mirabal) is a real community leader. His business is here and he knows how local government works. He is the right person for the job."
Despite the city's overwhelming Latino presence, Mirabal, 43, is the second representative from that ethnic group to sit on the council since the city incorporated nearly seven decades ago. Joseph Raymond served from 1964 to 1976.