Del Rio City Council members Tuesday appointed Ana Maria Giraldo as deputy city secretary, and several council members expressed concern the city secretary’s office is still unable to process birth and death certificates.
The six members of the city council present at Tuesday’s meeting unanimously approved a resolution appointing Giraldo as deputy city secretary and defining her powers and duties. Councilwoman Diana Bejarano Salgado made the motion to approve the resolution, with Councilwoman Liz Elizalde de Calderon giving the second.
Councilman Rowland Garza was the only member of the council not present at Tuesday’s meeting.
After the motion and second, Salgado asked if Giraldo would be receiving a pay increase commensurate with her additional duties, and City Manager Matthew Wojnowski assured Salgado that Giraldo would receive extra pay.
Councilman Alfredo “Fred” Carranza Jr. asked if the city secretary’s office could process birth and death certificates.
“Not at this moment,” Giraldo replied.
Processing birth and death certificates at the city secretary’s office was suspended after the retirement of former City Secretary Biatris “Susie” Vela on Feb. 26.
“Are we going to be able to (process birth and death certificates)?” Carranza asked.“Yes, we’re waiting for the state to approve my signature and then order the proper certified paper with the signature. Today we talked to someone (at) the state, and they said they were going to be trying to make the process a little faster. Then we can order the special paper with signatures,” Giraldo said.
“Any idea? A week, two weeks? Do you have a general (idea), maybe?’ Carranza asked.
“No,” Giraldo replied.
“I think the city on their Facebook page said people could go to a state website?” Carranza asked.
“We’re sending them to the Austin website, for them to order the birth certificates,” Giraldo said. “But the death (certificates); those are the ones we are kind of worried about.”
“Today we had an issue with one, on a body that needs to be transferred to Mexico, and we are not able to issue a death certificate, so that’s something we’re having a problem with,” Giraldo added.
“So somebody can get a birth certificate online, is that what you’re saying?” Carranza asked.
“Through Austin, yes,” Giraldo said.
“Then they’ll mail it to them? And normally the process is, they show up here?” Carranza asked.
“They get it here instantly,” Giraldo said.
“So can we, maybe, look into helping push that along?” Carranza asked.
“It’s been addressed,” said Mayor Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano.
“With who?” Carranza asked.
“We walked over to the office together, Mr. Wojnowski and I, regarding your specific item. Both items,” Lozano said.
“So that is an issue. There’s a body that’s being held back. It’s a dignity issue at this point. So how do we remedy this?” Calderon said.
“One of the things that the staff that is there with me, we were talking about that maybe something needs to be done, since it’s happened before, maybe there needs to be a clause or something, so when the city secretary or the deputy city secretary are not there, or something happens like this, that a person is able to sign, to have the authority to have this kind of paper and issue these,” Giraldo said.
“So this would be a state issue, I believe, it’s my understanding, from what I’m gathering. Let us also propose it to our consulting group and see if we can find a work-around solution. It had been discussed,” Lozano said.
“This isn’t the first time that this has happened ... I think if we can make some calls and get a quicker resolution,” Carranza added.
“So direction is understood regarding that issue,” Lozano said.
Councilman Jim DeReus asked City Attorney Suzanne West if it was proper for Giraldo to sign the resolution appointing her.
“She’s just attesting. When she attests to things, she’s attests that’s what you voted for,” West said.