Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck is facing an ethics complaint following an incident where he allegedly used the phrase “a bunch of Mexicans” to refer to a group of elected and appointed Latino officials.
The Texas mayor approached city council member Robert Rivera outside his office on Feb. 7 in the presence of other city staff to question whether Rivera planned on attending an evening city council meeting, according to FOX 4 Local News.
According to the complaint, Cluck, Rivera and David Crow, the president of Arlington Professional Firefighters, were present in Rivera’s office with the door open when the comment was made.
Cluck questioned whether Rivera -- the only Hispanic council member -- would be skipping the council meeting, to which Rivera explained that he would be attending the "Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Meeting" instead.
The mayor allegedly responded by saying, "Oh, a bunch of Mexicans."
At this point, according to the complaint, Crow said, "I don’t think you can say that."
The mayor responded, "what, Mexican?" and the conversation ended there, according to the complaint.
Cluck told FOX 4 that he doesn’t remember using the phrase in question.
"That's just not a term I would use," Cluck said.
However, the mayor also told FOX 4 that if enough witnesses said that he did, then he would have to believe that he did indeed use the phrase "a bunch of Mexicans" to refer to a meeting for Latino officials.
"I am totally colorblind, always have been,” Cluck told NBC 5 Local News. “If I said something to offend people, I am sorry."
Rivera would not comment on whether or not he was offended, though he did not file the complaint -- the identity of that city employee is unknown.
"What is most important is that the integrity of the workplace be maintained for city employees," Rivera told FOX 4 in a phone interview. "It's unfortunate any employee heard the comments and was offended enough to file a complaint."