Mayor could face removal effort

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

After allegations were made public last week that Mayor Rick Hall has been observed engaging in threatening, vulgar and offensive behavior in numerous settings in recent months, and has allegedly been intoxicated in those instances, one local resident suggested that Hall could be legally removed from office.

Chris Pezold addressed about 25 people in attendance at the March 1 special-called Council meeting to discuss the employment of Police Chief Maverick Campbell as they waited for the meeting to begin.

“We’re here on a Sunday judging a man and his family and we’ve had Council members watching stuff go on that I just read an article in the paper about and I’ve heard rumors about, that we’ve been watching go on for quite sometime,” Pezold said. “There has been no judgment on that.”

Pezold then brought up the option to have Hall legally removed from the Mayor’s position.

“One person can go in and file with the district judge, and there’s only three reasons why a mayor can be removed from office and one of them is public drunkenness,” Pezold said. “It is interesting it only takes one to file and they clear the civil court docket and push that to the front, so it is something that can happen quick. Those are my thoughts.”

According to information published by the Texas Municipal League, a single citizen – who has lived in the city for at least six months and is not under indictment – can file a sworn petition for removal of a mayor or council member in district court in the county where the elected official resides.

The petition must spell out the alleged acts, including specific time and location. Once the petitioner files for the order requiring the citation be provided to the elected official facing removal, the court will order the official to appear and answer the petition.

The three specified grounds for removal are incompetence, official misconduct, or intoxication on or off duty caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage.

The petition filer bears financial responsibility should the removal procedure not move forward.

The judge may refuse to issue the citation and dismiss the petition at the cost of the filer. If the judge does issue a citation, the petitioner must execute a bond with at least two sureties to cover the official’s damages and costs if the grounds for removal are found to be untrue.

The law also specifies that if the citation is issued, the disposition of the matter takes precedence over other civil matters in the court. The official facing removal would have the choice of being tried by the judge or a jury.

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