In a curious press release, Kerr County announced a meeting between Judge Rob Kelly and Ingram Mayor Claud Jordan happened on June 17 about the city's controversial issues.
Earlier this week, Ingram replaced its police chief for the third time in a month and saw two members of the City Council resign, including one on Tuesday. The meeting also included Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha and Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Harris, who represents West Kerr County.
"We felt it was pertinent to meet face-to-face to discuss the reality of Ingram's current challenges and cooperate on plans for the benefit of all county citizens," Kelly said.
Jordan won a narrow mayoral election over the appointed incumbent Kathy Rider and challenger Bill Warren. Jordan defeated Warren by nine votes.
Since Jordan's election, most of the police department resigned and there seems to be a difference of opinion on whether Police Chief Carol Twiss retired or Jordan fired her. The West Kerr Current newspaper showed text messages between Jordan and Twiss suggesting he had fired her.
"My biggest concern through all these changes, of course, is for the City of Ingram and its citizens," Harris said. "Carol Twiss and her officer team had created a very stable environment, as well as initiated many positive community events. It is my hope that the new city hall regime can regain some of that. The people of Ingram deserve it."
Ingram's woes have centered around a contentious sewer project, which Jordan has opposed. This longstanding issue led to the ouster of city staff, a wide range of conspiracy theories and threats about the program's implementation. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the sewer line was to connect residences to Kerrville's sewer system. It did not include commercial buildings.
This back-and-forth over the sewer had gone back to 2005 as the city tried to charge commercial businesses for connecting to the sewer.
However, the biggest concern for county officials is restoring stability to Ingram's city government, which operates without a city manager.
"We are cooperating with them by helping Mr. Jordan find the necessary personnel to restaff the city government," Kelly said. "We covered a lot of ground in our meeting, and I felt good about it," the judge said. "It just makes good sense for us to work together in ways that are mutually beneficial to each other."
Joe Hamilton, a retired Department of Public Safety captain, is now leading the police department, but Leitha said the sheriff's office would provide support.
"As sheriff to all of Kerr County and its residents, I would like to make it clear that our office will serve the public in all 1,100 square miles under our jurisdiction," Leitha said. "Our precinct division has coverage on every shift, as we have for more than two decades."