Big votes at Fresno's City Hall usually run late into the night, but Thursday, the item of residential trash privatization never got off the ground.
“We had some antics in the council chambers tonight. Some shenanigans if you will,” said Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin.
What Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin means is Councilman Blong Xiong and Councilman Sal Quintero were in the chamber one minute then disappeared. Swearengin tried calling them on the phone two times to find out where they went.
“I certainly would understand if an emergency came up so I wanted to find out, but there was not response, so I have to conclude they simply wanted to skip out on this difficult vote tonight,” said Swearengin.
On the other hand, Councilmen Oliver Baines and Larry Westerlund had excused absences. Lee Brand, Andreas Borgeas and Clint Olivier were the only ones physically there.
Westerlund actually called into the meeting, so technically they had the minimum number of members to vote, but the four men didn't feel comfortable doing that without Xiong and Quintero there.
“I’m really surprised. I don't know the reasoning behind that, but that's politics so you never know,” said Tony Cruz, a Fresno city employee.
Tony Cruz is a garbage truck driver who stands to be shuffled around if the third and final vote supports privatization. Cruz is against the change as is Xiong and Quintero.
Quintero issued this statement to CBS47 regarding his choice not to vote.
"I felt that we've had two votes, this was the third and final vote and both times it had been 4 to 3. In the past I've made motions to let the voters decide, but that didn't pass. Then I motioned to wait for the new city council, but that didn't pass either. So I don't think that anything would change"
Mayor Swearengin doesn't appreciate his tactic to run away from an item he's doesn't like, but says this issue will get taken care next Thursday.
“I don't know if we'll expect the same thing again next week, but regardless the item will move forward,” said Swearengin.
City administrators will not be disciplining Xiong and Quintero. If that course is taken, it would be decided by city council themselves.