With a candidate-filing deadline now passed, the City of Alto is left with no one willing to run for mayor in the city's May 11 general election. Mayor O.T. Allen, appointed last year after then-Mayor Monty Collins resigned, announced previously that he would not seek re-election.
Alto Mayor Pro Tem El Thacker ended up leading the city for a while following Collins' resignation. Back then he told CBS 19 he was shocked by the departure.
Things quieted down after Allen took over the office for the rest of the term, and news that no one wanted the job didn't seem to raise eyebrows among the people we talked with Thursday.
"I think why no one wants to run for mayor is because they don't want that extra burden," Larrell Harris, whose family lives in Alto, said. "And I think this town can actually survive without a mayor."
Harris believes the lack of willing mayors comes from a history of gridlock at city hall.
"If they can't get things done then they'll have all the residents in this town coming down on them asking them why things are this way and why it's taking so long to get things done," he said.
Alto's city manager emphasized that nothing changes until the May election. That's when Allen leaves office. After that, the new city council will appoint a mayor. She said that could take a week--or it could take a lot longer-- and added that the council does not face a deadline to pick a city leader.
"There's so much work to be done here in Alto," city council candidate Angelia Guereca said.
Guereca said she wouldn't want to be mayor.
"It's really the city council that makes all the decisions," she said. "They mayor just signs off on what they decide."
Guereca said being on the council will let her focus on fixing rough roads and helping Alto's less fortunate citizens. But she'll end up choosing the next mayor if she wins the election, and she's not sure who to pick.
"That is a difficult question because no one is happy with any of the mayors we get," Guereca said. "They blame the mayor for everything."
Mayor Allen declined a request for an interview, but he told CBS 19 he doesn't consider this to be a unique situation because it happens all around Texas. He also said its not the first time it's happened in Alto.