The chairman of Livingston’s Planning Commission voluntarily resigned after elected officials threatened to have him removed because of a potential conflict of interest.
Luis Enrique Flores, 30, was appointed to the Planning Commission in 2010. Then he was elected to the Livingston Union School District board of trustees in November. City officials worried his seat on the school board would conflict with his duties as a planning commissioner.
The City Council discussed whether the two offices are incompatible during a meeting last month. City Attorney Jose Sanchez cited an opinion from the attorney general’s office stating that if two offices cover common territory, a person cannot serve on both.
If Flores hadn’t voluntarily stepped down, Livingston Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra said that either he or Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza would have brought a resolution to have him removed.
Samra said another school board member had wanted to serve on the Planning Commission. That person was told by city officials he couldn’t hold both offices and decided not to apply for the seat. Samra said the city should be consistent in enforcing the policy.
“We’ve already had this decision made way before,” Samra said Friday. “We didn’t make an exception for anyone in the past, and we shouldn’t do it in the future.”
Samra said the decision was not personal and believes Flores had the best intentions in serving as a commissioner.
“I think former Planning Commissioner Flores did a great job for the city. He’s a very smart guy, and I wish we could keep him. But he had to make the best decision,” Samra said. “I think he made the right decision. He was fully aware of what he had to do before he ran for election.”
Flores could not be reached for comment Friday.
After Flores resigned, Commissioner Mario Mendoza – who was seeking another term on the commission – was appointed to finish Flores’ term. Newcomer Adanan Bath was appointed to the other vacancy.
Bath last year pulled filing papers to challenge Samra in his re-election bid in November. Bath ended up not running against Samra.
Mendoza, however, did challenge Samra but lost by about 300 votes. Samra secured about 62 percent of the vote, and Mendoza, the brother of Councilman David Mendoza, had 37 percent.