MABTON — A remark posted on the Mabton Residents Facebook page claiming the city’s Mayor is seeking to sue the city for back wages is unfounded, Mayor Laura Vazquez.

This not the first time the mayor has been attacked by residents of the community, according to Vazquez. She said her vehicle and home have been subject to incidents of vandalism, but this latest barb is different.

The mayor is being accused of suing the city from a social media platform for the sum of $30,000 in backpay by former city employee Tammy Rehms.

Rehms wrote in her post on Monday, Oct.26, “the mayor is threatening to sue the city for back wages that were agreed to at the time services were rendered. If I am doing the math right this demand wants 30K in back pay based on certified employee wages?”

“There is no truth to that accusation,” Vazquez declared, who currently receives $1,000 per month as mayor.

“The rumor spread via Facebook has no basis in fact,” she said of the posting on the Mabton Residents Facebook page, administrated by city councilwoman Sophie Sotelo.

The mayor works as the city chief executive in charge of hiring, firing, the budget, and as the city administrator in search of grants with which to help support the public health and safety.

“That’s my job to oversee the crews and city hall employees,” Vazquez explained.

But when the city’s administrator left city employment, the council assigned Vazquez the duties of the city administrator, which includes setting the budget, seeking grants with a $700 stipend bump.

In November of last year, the council revoked the $700, lowering her month stipend to $1,000.

Vazquez has continued to seek funds for the city including millions in grants for the new city well, she noted.

“I have sought to have the council reinstate the additional $700 to the mayor’s stipend,” she acknowledged, “but that doesn’t add up to $30,000 in back pay,” she added.

Working as the little town’s mayor, Vazquez maintains it’s a fulltime job.

“I was elected and it’s my duty to carry out my duties as in a strong mayor/council form of government. I’m the person who hires, fires, oversees, and maintains the departments.”

“Sure, I’d like more money for the job, and I think it was wrong of the council to subtract the $700 from the stipend from the 2020 budget. Perhaps this year’s budget will see the amount will be reinstated.”

“But” she said, “I’m not suing the city over it.”

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at jhart@sunnysidesun.com

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