In a special meeting on Thursday morning, November 8, Kerrville’s City Council voted to remove George Baroody from his role as Mayor Pro Tem in response to his actions relating to a lawsuit filed against the city in recent months. Council Person Place 4 Delayne Sigerman was appointed to replace Baroody as Mayor Pro Tem effective immediately.
Council Person Place 3 Judy Eychner initiated the meeting and read the motion to remove Baroody’s “pro tem” title and replace him with Sigerman, a motion which included charges of multiple ethics policy violations. Eychner’s statement claimed that Mr. Baroody attempted to contact the plaintiff’s attorney regarding a lawsuit that the attorney’s clients had filed against the city, and that this action was inconsistent with the ethical responsibilities of the council members, and that council members were specifically advised against this type of contact.
In addition to removing Baroody as pro tem, the motion also mandated that Baroody no longer be allowed to participate in meetings related to the lawsuit.
The vote was 3-2 with Mayor Blackburn, Eychner, and Sigerman in favor, and Voelkel and Baroody opposed. The issue was originally slated for executive session, which would have moved the deliberations out of public view. However, Mr. Baroody, as the subject of the deliberations, requested that the matter be discussed publicly.
This move does not affect Mr. Baroody’s position as a council member — only his status as Mayor Pro Tem. Elected in 2017 in an uncontested race, Mr. Baroody’s term expires in May 2019 and he has not publicly stated whether or not he will seek re-election. This action does not affect the other council members’ roles or duties in any way, except Sigerman will now act as Mayor Pro Tem.
The “Mayor Pro Tem” is a member of council who takes over the mayor’s duties when the mayor is absent. The term is an abbreviation for the Latin term, “pro tempore,” which means, “for the time being.” The mayor pro tem does not actually become mayor, but only assumes the mayoral duties when the mayor is unavailable or unable to attend to his/her duties.
Several members of the public spoke in support of Baroody, and Mr. Baroody defended himself, but affirmed that he did, in fact, approach the plaintiff’s attorney, Mr. Patrick O’Fiel. O’Fiel then penned a letter to City Manager Mark McDaniel and City Attorney Mike Hayes to disclose this attempted communication.
Kerrville United has received a copy of the email that O’Fiel delivered to city staff. The letter states:
Please be advised that a councilmember, George Baroody, paid a visit to my office today to discuss the case. I informed him that I was not able to discuss the matter. I believe it is proper for me to notify you of this event.
–Patrick O’Fiel, Plaintiff’s Attorney
During the course of this morning’s 45-minute meeting, council members disclosed that this lawsuit exists — filed by a sober living group against the city to challenge the “boarding home” ordinance that was revised in the summer of 2018.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas; San Antonio Division. The plaintiffs are Lotus Peer Recover, LLC; Kacey Paige Williams; Christian Jane River; and Madelyn Rebecca Clark. The full lawsuit can be read below.
Complaint 090718 by on Scribd
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
The full video of today’s meeting is available below.