City Council filled its third and final open position on the San Antonio Water System board Thursday with a vote confirming former City and CPS Energy official Edward Belmares.

In a consent agenda vote, Council members unanimously approved Belmares to a seat representing the southern half of SAWS’ territory that was formerly held by SAWS Trustee Pat Jasso, whose term expired in May. Council previously confirmed Jelynne LeBlanc Burley and Leticia Ozuna to replace trustees with past-due terms representing SAWS’ northern half and its southeastern quadrant, respectively.

Edward Belmares Credit: Courtesy / City of San Antonio

Belmares’ smooth confirmation came after a split council vote on Robert Potts, whose appointment to the SAWS board failed last month amid controversy over ethnic diversity and tensions between business and environmental interests. Potts later withdrew from consideration, as did Fernando Reyes, a manufacturing executive whom some council members backed as an alternate candidate.

City Council’s Governance Committee recommended Belmares on Sept. 11. A former assistant city manager and CPS Energy vice president, Belmares worked as chief operating officer for KFW Engineering before starting his own consulting firm in 2019.

Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3), who opposed Potts’ confirmation, did not address last month’s controversy during her comments ahead of Thursday’s vote. Instead, she urged Belmares to focus on utility issues affecting her Southside district, such as odors from sewage lift stations and development near Mitchell Lake Audubon Center.

Belmares’ term will expire May 31, 2024.

Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter at the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental journalist for Oil & Gas Watch.