INGLESIDE, Texas — Unable to get enough votes to excuse Mayor Ronnie Parker's three consecutive absences, the mayor's seat was forfeited according to the city charter 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.
Mayor Pro Tem John Schack said the consequence of the vote is the council will move forward with placing an item on next week's agenda to fill the open seat on the council. Shack, an employee of the Port of Corpus Christi, will fill the seat of mayor.
Meanwhile, the city is accepting applications for Schack's Place 6 seat.
According to the city's charter, if any member of the council misses three consecutive council meetings, they may forfeit their seat on the council.
Parker says his son-in-law died of COVID-19 in early September and has also had medical appointments three times a week.
He added that in 2017, another council member had missed three of four consecutive meetings and the council did not remove that member.
"I’ve tried to do what is right for the city," Parker said. "The council told the voters tonight we don’t care which way you vote."
Schack advised the city to advertise the open position, noting the council would want to fill the vacancy as quickly as possible.
Diehl said he made the motion because he thought it was important for the public to know where each of the council members stood.
"I wish it would have gone the other direction," he said.
How did council members vote on the motion to excuse the absences of Mayor Ronnie Parker?
Julio Salinas, Place 1 - No
David Pruitt, Place 2 - No
Stewart Wilson, Place 3 - Yes
Ben Tucker, Place 4 - Yes
Steve Diehl, Place 5 - Yes
John F. Schack, Place 6 - No
A petition to recall Councilman Shack and reinstate Parker was started by Brandon Patton who grew up in Ingleside.
He says he was shocked at the council's decision to remove the now-former mayor and says “he was dealing with a death in his family. He was being the primary caretaker of his grandchildren. COVID-19 has attacked everybody. I mean it's worldwide, and there's even excuses for missing events… appointments. Why should this be any different?”
Patton is coming up on 275 signatures for his petition and plans to present it to the city clerk once he reaches 1,000 signatures from Ingleside voters.
This is a developing story check back for updates.