INGLESIDE, Texas — Ingleside Mayor Ronnie Parker tells KRIS 6 News after consulting with the Ingleside City Attorney Michael G. Morris on Wednesday, he has not forfeited his seat after missing three consecutive council meetings.
Voters amended the city charter in May, removing language from the charter that would remove a council member if they missed three meetings and replacing it instead with language that allows for forfeiture of their seat if they were to miss six meetings in a 12-month period, Parker says.
In the letter, Morris states, "It would appear to me that the Mayor has not forfeited his office by missing three consecutive regular council meetings and that he therefore still holds the office of Mayor, as a result of which there is no vacancy on the Council."
Council Member John Schack, who would have served as mayor had the forfeiture stood, made the motion to accept that charter amendment and place it on the ballot.
Monday, Ingleside City Councilmember Steve Diehl, Place 5, made a motion to excuse the mayor's absences from August 24, September 14, and September 28. But, Diehl was short one vote.
Diehl told KRIS 6 News Wednesday that he believed the original intent of the charter review committee was to leave the three consecutive absences in the charter and add the word or six absences in a 12-month period. He added what mattered is what voters approved, which was six absences.
"I will say it's extremely unfortunate adequate research was not done before it came to council," Diehl said. "It shouldn't have even been on the agenda. But, the ultimate buck stops with the city council."
He said he is in the process of reviewing the council meetings, and charter review meeting to determine where the breakdown in communication happened. He has also reached out to the city attorney to find out why the charter language was not changed on Municode, which is the website he and other council members utilize when researching the city charter.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.