A special called meeting of the Temple City Council on Monday addressed “the charges filed by the Bell County Sheriff’s Department against Mayor Pro Tem Judy Morales and the impact of those charges on her Council duties.” This video gives a view of the proceeding during which Morales refused to resign despite calls for such action from Temple Mayor Danny Dunn along with fellow councilmembers Tim Davis, Perry Cloud and Russell Schneider.
In response, the council is invoking section 4.15 of the city of Temple charter, “rules of the city council” which provides oversight for the basis and process of removing a council member.
The City Council shall determine its own rules of procedure, and shall compel the attendance of its members, and with the concurrence of four (4) members constituting said City Council, may impeach a member, and may remove him from office for good cause. Any Councilmember subject to removal for good cause may request a public hearing of the charges against him prior to removal from office.
Last week, Morales turned herself in to the Bell County Sheriff’s Office upon being charged with Destruction, Removal, or Alteration of Public Information, a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a $4,000 fine and/or county jail confinement of up to three months.
Per Morales’ request, a public hearing is scheduled Thursday.
1. PUBLIC HEARING: Consider adopting a resolution authorizing the Temple City Council to remove Judy Morales from the Council, as Councilmember District 2, for good cause as set forth in Section 4.15 of the City Charter.
Morales’ supporters as well as those advocating her resignation were in attendance at Monday’s meeting.
The crowd’s most visible reaction came when Morales, directing her remarks to the council, commented “there are some major issues that I’m concerned about within the city that I don’t think you want me to bring forward today and I won’t” (7:46 on the video). The mayor pro tem’s supporters immediately acknowledged agreement while others audibly questioned if the statement was a threat.
Having just minutes before spoken of her commitment to serving the public and to protecting interests of Temple residents, Morales’ possession of information related to “major issues” over which she is “concerned” would seem information to which the public has every right to know, information that should be released immediately.
Allegations of racism and sexism have become undercurrents of the Morales controversy. If other public officials have committed illegalities or other acts of misconduct, disclosure can provide opportunity to support or refute that position as well.
If Thursday’s hearing results in Morales’ removal from office, that action will apply only to her current term which expires in May. Morales has filed for re-election and her continued public office service is additionally undetermined as the Bell County criminal charge remains pending.