Mayor strips Bravo of committee assignments after angry confrontation with Sandoval

San AntonioThis is a developing story. Check back for updates.

District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo has been indefinitely suspended from his council committee assignments and any external appointments following an angry confrontation with District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval ahead of the budget vote on Sep. 15.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg met with Bravo Friday afternoon and released a memo to council members afterward, announcing the action “in consideration of the conduct now under review.” Nirenberg wrote it was “a preliminary step until an investigation on the events in question is completed.”

“Maintaining decorum is essential for City Council to do its work. Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully and professionally, but elected officials should hold themselves to the highest standard,” Nirenberg said in an emailed statement.

“It is every organization’s responsibility to provide a secure professional work environment. The City of San Antonio and my office take this responsibility seriously.”

The City Attorney’s Office also issued a statement to KSAT, saying the city “has commenced an independent investigation.”

“Based on the actions before and during the meeting, as well as subsequent conversations with District 7 and the Mayor, the City has commenced an independent investigation. The investigation is consistent with the City’s process for addressing workplace conduct.”

Bravo had sat on four committees: Municipal Utilities; Transportation and Mobility; Community Health, Environment and Culture; and Planning and Community Development.

Sandoval also sits on the first three committees, including being chairwoman of the Community Health, Environment and Culture Committee.

Bravo was also on the policy board of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Though he will still be able to vote with council members during meetings of the full council, Bravo’s lack of committee seats will likely mean he has less of a hand in forming policy as it makes its way up to those meetings.

The punishment is fallout from an incident ahead of the Sep. 15 budget vote, during which a source says “a line was crossed.”

Bravo had been pushing to use $42.5 million in unexpected CPS Energy revenue for climate-related initiatives, and was reportedly upset over Sandoval’s lack of support for his plan.

Bravo and Sandoval had previously dated, and sources say Bravo got personal during a confrontation ahead of the budget meeting, which left Sandoval in tears. He later shouted at Sandoval’s top aide that “she put the knives in my back.”

Bravo later claimed Sandoval’s team had promised to support his plan for unexpected windfall of CPS Energy money and accused her of “breaking her promise at the last hour” to support his plan for spending $42.5 million in an unexpected revenue from CPS Energy.

Sandoval’s abstention from a vote during the meeting that followed meant Bravo’s plan for the money died and the city went forward with a mayor-supported city staff plan to use the money for CPS bill credits.

A source familiar with the discussions ahead of the meeting, though, says Sandoval’s team had not made any commitment to Bravo leading up to the vote.

KSAT has contacted Bravo and Sandoval’s offices for comment on the mayor’s decision.

Sandoval’s office said it had no comment, pending further investigation. KSAT has not yet heard back from Bravo’s office.

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