Granite Shoals appoints mayor pro tem, hands out community service award

Peggy Smith, Shirley King, Aaron Garcia

Shirley King (center) with Interim City Manager Peggy Smith and Mayor Aaron Garcia after she was presented with the John Rinehart Award for Outstanding Community Service during the Granite Shoals City Council’s regular meeting Dec. 14. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Granite Shoals City Council appointed Councilor Ron Munos as its latest mayor pro tem during its regular meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14. The council also swore in Michael Berg as Place 5 councilor after his Nov. 30 appointment and presented Shirley King with the John Rinehart Award for Outstanding Community Service.

“I would like to honor longevity of service and seniority on this council and nominate Ron Munos to be mayor pro tem,” said Councilor Steve Hougen during Wednesday’s meeting.

His nomination was seconded by Councilor Phil Ort and unanimously approved by the council.

Munos is the longest-serving member on the council and was mayor pro tem prior to Mayor Aaron Garcia’s appointment to the position in June

“I’m happy to serve again,” he said.

Before Munos’ nomination, Mayor Garcia made a case for Councilor Samantha Ortis as mayor pro tem. He spoke plainly about the perception of a conflict of interest on the matter because of his friendship with Ortis and her marriage to Police Chief John Ortis.

“This being a small city, you’re going to know people and you’re going to make friends,” Garcia said. “When you’re successful and you’re a leader, you surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share the same goals, values, and morals. That’s just how it is in these small cities. It doesn’t mean anybody has an agenda.”

Garcia’s comments were countered by Councilor Ort, who stated the perception of a conflict of interest would be too great.

“Nobody in the city would not see something bad with that,” he said.

Garcia acknowledged his point but further defended his position.

“I can tell you this: I can guarantee that Mrs. Ortis has no agenda other than to try and make the city flourish and thrive,” he said.

Ortis spoke on the matter and thanked Garcia for his support but told the council she agreed with Ort on this and declined a mayor pro tem nomination.

“Thank you, Aaron. I appreciate everything you said, but I do agree with Phil on this one though,” she said. “I don’t want to have that perception fall upon me. I would hate for something to happen to the city manager, the fire chief, or you, and then me be in charge of my husband, because that’s the last place that I want to be.”


The council also presented Shirley King with the 2023 John Rineheart Award for Outstanding Community Service, acknowledging her decades of contributions to the city.

“The original playground equipment at most of these parks was physically placed by Shirley and her husband, Jack,” said Councilor Hougen. “We thank you for that effort.”

Mayor Garcia presented King with her award, which was established in 2015 to honor Granite Shoals residents who exemplified a volunteer spirit and civic service.

“This is a great honor, and I am so humble and thankful,” King said. “Thank you all very much.”


Michael Berg, Frank Reilly
Michael Berg (left) is sworn in to his new position as Place 5 councilor by Municipal Judge Frank Reilly during the Granite Shoals City Council’s meeting Dec. 14. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Place 5 Councilor Michael Berg was officially sworn in by Municipal Judge Frank Reilly during Wednesday night’s meeting. Berg took the seat of former Councilor Eddie McCoy, who resigned on Nov. 17.

Berg won out against fellow applicants Roman Archer and Kiel Arnone on Dec. 1, when the council appointed him after a public interview and proceeding rounds of voting.

He vouched for his position on a platform of economic development, stability, and family support.


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