Kerrville City Councilman requests closed session meeting to discuss City Attorney

City Councilman Roman Garcia wants to discuss Mike Hayes' performance in a closed-door-meeting Tuesday night.

Kerrville City Councilman Roman Garcia has placed an item on Tuesday's agenda that requires an executive session discussion about City Attorney Mike Hayes. The citation is: "Personnel matters regarding the City Attorney, as to the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal or to hear a complaint or charge against . . . "

That discussion will happen sometime Tuesday night behind closed doors at the City Council meeting.

What this is regarding is explicitly unclear because it's a personnel matter. It likely stems from a confrontation last year when Garcia drew an off-the-record rebuke from Hayes for accusing the city staff of illegal conduct during a break in the Nov. 9 City Council meeting. Hayes has frustrated a small group, including Garcia, about his consistent position that the city's upcoming May 7 election is not unlawful under the city's charter and Texas law.


Mayor Bill Blackburn supports Garcia's request for an executive session discussion.

During the May 9 meeting, Garcia argued that the city had a legal responsibility to hold the elections in November. The charter, the city's governing document, required two-year terms for those elected.

"It's two years and so I respect the opinion of everybody who spoke, and those on council, who may disagree but in terms of upholding the will of the citizens and our city charter," Garcia said. "When we come up here, we're elected we raise our right hand to swear to uphold the constitution and laws of the United States and this state. And the laws of this state provide that our charter is the ultimate ruling for us. It's like our constitution for the city. So, again with all due respect, I respect everyone else's opinion, but I think we need to uplift and uphold the city charter and the will of the people. We should hold the election in November."

After the speech, the City Council transitioned into another moment, but an apparently exasperated Mayor Bill Blackburn called for a five-minute recess. At this point is when Hayes confronted Garcia about his comments in front of City Councilwomen Brenda Hughes and Kim Clarkson.

The battle over the election has been a curious fight championed by Garcia and former City Councilman George Baroody, who seem to ignore the executive actions of Gov. Greg Abbott postponing the municipal elections in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While it's true the city's charter says two years for a term, the uniqueness of Abbott's emergency actions may nullify the city charter in this case, at least according to past guidance handed to other cities from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Round Rock's City Council tried something similar, arguing a point about the city's charter requirement for two-year terms. While there are differences between the Kerrville situation and Round Rock, Paxton made it clear they had to hold their election in November and then return to the May date generally used by cities in Texas.

Garcia's claims also omit that Blackburn will have served four years on the City Council in May, but the extension would grant him an additional six months of unelected service. The same would hold for Judy Eychner, currently the Place 3 City Councilwoman. The only Council member to have a shortened term would be Hughes.

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