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Las Vegas officials say goodbye

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By David Giuliani

Wednesday was the last City Council meeting for council members Cruz Roybal and Morris Madrid, both of whom decided against running for re-election.

It was also to be the last for Mayor Tony Marquez, but he didn’t show up.

At the beginning of the council meeting, Councilwoman Diane Moore told her colleagues that the mayor informed her that he was running late because he was tending to legislative business in Santa Fe. He sent that information via a text.

It wasn’t clear why Marquez never made it to the two-and-a-half hour meeting. He didn’t return a call Thursday morning.

Marquez works in Santa Fe, and he has been tough to reach for many in the community. Indeed, the Optic hasn’t had an interview with Marquez in 13 months; his comments have all been via e-mail.

During the council meeting, many city officials paid tribute to the service of both Roybal and Madrid. But nothing was said of Marquez during the entire meeting, other than Moore‘s explanation for his absence and a quick reference by former Mayor Henry Sanchez. Madrid presided over the session in his role as mayor pro tem.

Before the meeting, Las Vegas band Los Tropicales played in the hallway outside the council’s chambers. Cake and punch were served — the festivities put on by Madrid’s family, a surprise to the councilman himself.

During the meeting, the former mayor, Sanchez, praised the council.

“I wish that everyone who has opinions could sit where you sit for one week,” he told the council. “It’s easy to criticize.”

Roybal has been on the council for 16 years, spending much of his time on issues such as housing and access for the disabled. Madrid joined the city as finance director about eight years ago, then he was promoted to city manager, a job he held for two and a half years. A council majority then fired him in January 2005, much to the chagrin of then-Mayor Sanchez, who walked out of City Hall with Madrid in protest.

Madrid then was elected to the council in 2006. He has had a close relationship with Roybal, who voted against his firing.

During the meeting, Madrid complimented the other council members. He noted his differences with council members Diane Moore and Andrew Feldman. But he said they were always professional and kept the lines of communication open.

Madrid said he felt good about the performance of City Manager Timothy Dodge, who was hired a year ago.

“The one who gives me the most comfort is Tim Dodge. We finally got it right. We got a good manager,” Madrid said. “That is probably the most important thing to our city —  continuity in administration.”

Roybal left with some advice for aspiring elected officials.

“Don’t tell anyone what they want to hear. Tell them the truth.”