A resolution before the City Council demands that Jose Torres, former city mayor, return monies he received for sick and vacation pay while in office.
Council members want the former mayor to repay the two off-line checks he received, one in 2008 and the other in 2010.
Torres received a $73,996 check a week prior to leaving office in 2010, a fact made public by Aslon Goow, former 2nd Ward councilman, during the summer. A second check of $3,169.10 was obtained by the former mayor in 2008, when he asked his subordinates to subtract vacation days for a check.
Although the two checks add up to $77,165 the council’s first resolution demanded the former mayor repay $54,451.58 instead of the entire $73,996 – council decided to exclude the taxes and deductions arriving at the lower amount.
Rigo Rodriguez, councilman at-large, who is contesting against Torres for the mayor’s seat, suggested the council amend the resolution to demand not the lower amount, but the gross amount that was issued to Torres. “We should ask for the full amount,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez compared the situation to a customer returning an item to a store and seeking a refund. “It’s like you buy something from my store, and you pay $10 plus taxes and you return that item, how much should I give back? $10 or $10 plus the tax?” asked Rodriguez. “Whatever we paid out need to come back.”
Rodriguez even suggested the city charge interest on the money. “I think we should charge interest on that,” said Rodriguez.
Recently, the council adopted an ordinance barring elected officials from cashing in sick and vacation days, calling such practice inappropriate.
The council is set to adjust the demand resolution to ask for the gross amount that was issued: $77,165. Torres was contacted for comments — it went to voice mail.