What began as a dispute among Wimberley city leaders over office furniture within City Hall Dec. 6 escalated into chaos after a city council member opted to resign.
Patricia Kelly, who was elected in May, spent most of the Dec. 6 meeting trying to make a statement, but was constantly shut down by Mayor Susan Jaggers on numerous occasions. Ultimately, Kelly announced her resignation in the final minutes of the meeting.
But Kelly’s resignation from the dais has led to growing concern among Wimberley residents who question Jaggers’ ability to lead an open form of government, according to sources in contact with the Hays Free Press and News-Dispatch.
“It is with deep regret that I am announcing my informal resignation,” Kelly said at the Dec. 6 meeting. “I can no longer be a part of a mayoral regime that treats and thinks of everyone as her subordinate and is in constant being of the power struggle between staff and council.”
Kelly said she has never quit anything in her life, but said life is too short to stay within the negative environment that is the Wimberley City Council.
At the center of the issue is Jaggers, who was also elected in May. Several Wimberley residents have alleged a lack of transparency within Wimberley’s city government and have cited Jaggers as the cause.
Steve Thurber, former Wimberley Mayor, said Kelly’s resignation is a testament to Jaggers’ inability to lead in a representative and elected position.
At the Dec. 6 council meeting, Jaggers periodically cut off other council members when trying to speak, saying they were out of line. During the meeting, Jaggers called herself the “CEO of city hall,” challenging the authority of a council vote.
Dispute with City Administrator
Since his hire in February, City Administrator Shawn Cox has been evaluated five times by the city council. Thurber said Jaggers’ is actively trying to fire Shawn Cox but has not had the support from council to do so.
At the Dec. 6 meeting, the council discussed an item on the agenda regarding an office dispute at city hall.
The conversation began with a debate between Cox and Jaggers over the location of the city secretary’s office. Cox said the offices did not need to be arranged to Jaggers’ liking because the city administrator and city secretary are responsible for the day to day operations of city hall. However, Cox said furniture had been moved after the Thanksgiving break. He added there have also been a number of discussions on the responsibilities of the city administrator.
“This is the city’s city hall. It does not belong to me. It does not belong to any one council member. It belongs to the public,” Cox said.
And after deliberation, city council overwhelmingly voted 4-1 to keep the offices as is. Jaggers said she has the responsibility to make sure the office stays clean, which she said was not being accomplished.
“One of the conditions I had was to make sure this office is made clean and tight and presentable to the public,” Jaggers said. “Along with the administrator’s office, I’ve counseled (Cox) over the summer and in the fall to clean these office spaces up.”
Thurber said the relationship between Jaggers and Cox has been “troubled” from the start.
“They have crossed each other many times mostly in part because Cox will not do what the mayor asks of him because he knows it isn’t right,” Thurber said. “She doesn’t have the support on council to make any changes.”
Kelly’s resignation will be voted on at the next council meeting; it is unknown at this time if the city will hold a special election to fill her seat.
Kelly, who ran her campaign alongside Jaggers and two other council members, did not respond to comment as of press time. Cox also did not respond for comment.
Jaggers said in an emailed response that Kelly’s resignation came as a “surprise.”
“We all have differences and public service is not easy. It requires a significant amount of time and energy and unfortunately at the expense of relationships with your family and friends,” Jaggers said. “Quitting is always an option, but it isn’t always the best option. I understand her decision to resign and am disappointed that she chose this path for the reasons she gave.”