Minutes after thanking his “sweetheart” and grading Fresno a better city than when he first joined the Fresno City Council in 1995, Sal Quintero saw his southeast Fresno seat remain vacant when newly elected councilmember Luis Chávez was kept away from Thursday morning’s inauguration due to a “family health emergency.”
A city spokesman said Chávez, who served as Quintero’s chief of staff, will likely be sworn in on Monday morning.
Fresno City Council President Paul Caprioglio read a short note from Chávez explaining his absence. Caprioglio joined fellow councilmember Steve Brandau and newly elected councilmember Garry Bredefeld in getting sworn in. Bredefeld returns to the council after having won election in 1997.
Bredefeld will represent the northeast Fresno district served by Mayor Lee Brand.
Quintero – who was on his fourth, four-year term representing District 5 – will be sworn in to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Monday morning. He also served as chief of staff to former Fresno City Councilmember Mike Dages.
“When I was first elected, I was interviewed by (then-City Clerk) Jackie Ryle,” recalled Quintero during a 5-minute speech.
She asked him what he hoped to accomplish on the council, he said.
“I hope that when I leave, Fresno will be a better city,” said Quintero, who has served under two types of government (the strong-mayor system was implemented in 1997) and three mayors.
Quintero said the strength of the city is its workers. He mentioned departments ranging from risk management to graffiti removal, from police to council staff.
“I leave a blessed man,” said Quintero.
Councilmembers called Quintero “the institutional memory” for the council.
“He provided the context to where we are today,” said Councilmember Esmeralda Soria.
Brand called Quintero “the resident historian on the city council.”
(This story will be updated).