A new Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Wimberley has been selected after a controversial fallout that postponed the decision for a week.
Newly elected Councilmember Rebecca Minnick was elected Mayor Pro Tem in a 3-1 vote on May 21 after a previous effort to select a new Mayor Pro didn’t have enough participants to conduct a special meeting on the matter.
Previous Mayor Pro Tem Gary Barchfeld was the dissenting vote. Mayor Susan Jaggers and Councilmember Craig Fore did not attend the special meeting.
The initial controversy led to finger-pointing among some city leaders who alleged the proposed special meeting might have been illegal if it took place.
Christine Byrne, Rebecca Minnick and Bo Bowman were sworn in by Wimberley Municipal Court Judge Daniel Burns on May 14. In an unprecedented move, Mayor Susan Jaggers did not attend the ceremony. A mayor has attended a swearing-in ceremony since the city was incorporated in 2000, according to multiple sources who attended the ceremony.
The special meeting to select a new Mayor Pro Tem, as outlined in the Texas Election Code, failed to meet quorum. The meeting was scheduled to commence after the swearing-in ceremony, as outlined in the agenda.
Mayor Pro Tem Gary Barchfeld and Councilmember Craig Fore attended the ceremony and canvased the election, but both left after congratulating the winners.
At least four members of the council are required to be in attendance in order to meet a quorum, which is the required number of city leaders needed to make an official decision on matters. The meeting failed to commence.
“Quorum constitutes four of the governing body for a special called meeting and we will have three present,” said City Administrator Shawn Cox.
However, Fore said the special meeting was not properly called, citing that the council was not polled.
“A special meeting requires three members of the council to notify the mayor for need of the meeting,” Fore said. “You must poll all members for their availability and show the reason and time for the meeting. None of this was done.”
Fore said he chose not to attend because the meeting was not called properly, potentially grounds for an illegal meeting violation.
At the May 16 city council meeting, the council discussed scheduling the appointment of a new Mayor Pro Tem for a special meeting on May 21.
According to the Texas Election Code, a new governing body at its first meeting, or as soon as practicable, “shall elect one alderman to serve as president pro tempore for a term of one year.”