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Ordinance poses serious obstacle to new mission of former mayor John Cook

By Maria Garcia, MariaG@kvia.com.
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:46:55 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 01:14:20 PM CST

ABC-7's Maria Garcia reports.

EL PASO, Texas -

Former Mayor John Cook will be the new administrator for the U.S. Mexico Border Mayors Association but he will not be able to speak with Mayor Oscar Leeser about border mayor issues.

Cook agreed to work for free for the Association because he said he still has knowledge he wants to put in use. He said if he calculated he has more than 5,000 hours of municipal and policy training.  "That's quite a lot of institutional knowledge that I have and I would hate to see all that die on the vine."

Instead of serving on the association as a Mayor, he'll serve as the Executive Director and will help the association draft resolutions, update the website and coordinate conferences.

There's one obstacle to Cook's plan. A City Ordinance which council passed when Cook was Mayor does not allow Cook, or any other elected official or city supervisor, to lobby the city. At least not for two years after leaving office. Which means he can't have formal or informal talks with the city about any of the issues of the border mayors association.

"Technically I can speak to any mayor about border issues that relate to cities other than my own mayor which is Mayor Leeser. I don't think that that was the original intention of the ordinance. It's an unintended consequence," Cook said Thursday.

Cook can meet with Leeser as a private citizen. He said he's going to do that on September 5th to talk to Leeser about how the city lobbying ordinance affects him.

The former Mayor, who was in public office for more than 14 years is setting up an office in Downtown El Paso to serve as the headquarters for the mayors association. He also plans to run for Texas Land Commissioner.

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