No more than three weeks ago, former Mayor Gracie Gallegos, from the city of Pico Rivera, handed her resignation to the city council, stating personal reasons.

Elected mayor just five months prior, Gallegos plead no contest to felony insurance fraud in August 2007, and was sentenced to five years’ probation and 120 hours of community service. Gallegos was arrested in Jan. 17, 2007.

She was found to have cashed a check for $3,173 from a fraudulent insurance claim. Assistant City Manager Jeff Prang claimed Gallegos resignation had nothing to do with her past conviction, but stemmed from personal issues.

Along with her father being diagnosed with prostate cancer, Gallegos has started a new business in the food industry, Prang stated.

“Public responsibilities were too much of a burden,” Prang said.

The council was never aware of Gallegos’ felony during her time as mayor. It was a private issue she decided not to disclose, Prang claimed.

“There was no reason they should have been notified,” Prang said.

“The incident prior to [Gallegos’] election did not affect her ability to serve the city council.”

Gallegos had two years remaining in her term.

Prang claimed he had heard that one of the council members received an anonymous letter in the mail about Gallegos’ crime.

City Councilman David Armenta has stated that Gallegos should have been open to the public about her past.

The business of the city still has to continue, Prang stated. The city is in the middle of major public works projects and a proposal to lower utility taxes.

The mayor is selected by the city council, and will likely be chosen after the next election cycle.

“We have the business of the people to attend to,” Prang said.

Louis Dettorre can be reached at