Floresville, Texas City Council Lone Dissenter Council Member Now Subject To Election to Remove
Floresville. Texas City Council members aren’t commenting On the advice of their the City Attorney on a vote to oust councilman Jim Miller.
City attorney Chris Hugg advised council members in an internal email to “issue a no-comment statement.”
“I cannot regulate what each individual may choose to say so long as it is clear that the statements are not being made on behalf of the city,” Hugg stated. “But I strongly advise not making any such statements as a matter of propriety and potential for personal statements to be mischaracterized as official.”
Hugg gave similar instructions to City Manager Henrietta Turner, writing, “As this is a matter of governance and not daily operations, I advise you to do exactly as you have done and provide no further response or comment to Mr. Ward.”
Wilson County District Judge David Peeples on Dec. 28 upheld Miller’s removal from office on the grounds the councilman did not meet the city’s residency requirement.Read the court order here.
Miller called the ruling “a very dangerous precedent.”
“It allows any majority of a City Council to vote to remove any member on the basis of their determination of qualifications, independent of the recognized legal definitions,” he said.
Miller, who owns a Floresville photography business, maintains that his legal residency is determined by his voter registration. He is registered to vote at his business, where he resides part-time. With his wife, he splits time at a home in San Antonio, 30 miles away.
An unstinting critic of city spending, Miller was the lone dissenter on key council votes. He called the hiring of an attorney and private detective to investigate him “a clear violation of the open-meeting law” and estimated the cost to the city at $40,000.
A special election to replace Miller has been set for May 7, at a projected expense of $15,000 to $20,000.
Mayor Sherry Castillo, in a Facebook posting on Sunday, explained the council’s action against Miller: “It would be a crime to continue to allow someone to maliciously malign us and do nothing about it. A lack of response would be in the same vein as doing nothing about Hitler’s crimes, 911 atroticies or today’s ISIS international crimes, for example.”
Meantime, former councilman Eric Rodriguez is circulating petitions to recall three of Miller’s chief adversaries: Castillo and council members Daniel Tejada and Juan Ortiz.
“Grounds for this recall are for, and not limited to, the misuse of city funds and for possible violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act,” Rodriguez said.