SÍNDICO PROCURADOR. The síndico procurador served as the city attorney of a Spanish municipality. He acted as a voting member of the ayuntamiento, the town council. The regidors, or councilmen, elected the síndico from among the town citizens. The office could, however, like other municipal offices, be sold to the highest bidder. The duties of the síndico procurador varied from town to town, since formal instructions for the position were never clearly stated. Spanish and Mexican officials relied on tradition to determine the responsibilities of the office. In general, the síndico served as the official notary as well as principal legal advisor of a municipality. Additionally, he played a role in public security. He supervised the building of fires, the proper upkeep of city lots, and the prevention of public gambling. He also shared with the ayuntamiento the responsibility for weights and measures and the collection of municipal funds. The síndico procurador's chief legal duty was to serve as general counsel to the city. He represented the town in business affairs, acted as principal negotiator, and represented his area before the audiencia. He also ensured that local officials observed municipal ordinances and performed their duties. Although land grants were the responsibility of the regidors and the alcalde, the town's chief executive, the síndico was to be present when grants were made. He did not vote at such meetings, but he was expected to voice his opinion and see that the grants were distributed fairly. The Spanish Constitution of 1812, which significantly altered many local institutions, did little to change the office of the síndico procurador. However, for the first time, all ayuntamientos were required to have an attorney. After Mexican independence, Anglo-Americans in Texas continued to elect officials in the same manner as their Spanish predecessors.
Eugene C. Barker, "The Government of Austin's Colony, 1821–1831," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 21 (January 1918). Clarence H. Haring, The Spanish Empire in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1947; 2d ed., New York: Harcourt, 1963). Mattie Alice Austin, "The Municipal Government of San Fernando de Bexar, 1730–1800," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 8 (April 1905). O. Garfield Jones, "Local Government in the Spanish Colonies as Provided by the Recopilación de Leyes de los Reynos de las Indias," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 19 (July 1915). John Preston Moore, The Cabildo in Peru under the Bourbons (Durham: Duke University Press, 1966). John Preston Moore, The Cabildo in Peru under the Hapsburgs (Durham: Duke University Press, 1954). Marc Simmons, Spanish Government in New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1968). David J. Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 1821–1846 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982).