Baroody will challenge, despite being aware of the rule for months

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Following the city’s ruling that George Baroody is ineligible to run for city council because of a conflict with the city charter, Mr. Baroody told the Kerrville Daily Times on Friday that he is considering challenging the ruling.

ā€œIā€™m looking at options at how to challenge the disqualification ruling and considering challenging the Charter amendment.ā€

–George Baroody via the Kerrville Daily Times

Mr. Baroody is related to an executive-level member of the City of Kerrville’s staff, according to sources familiar with the matter and according to Mr. Baroody’s statements to the Daily Times.

This relationship existed while Mr. Baroody was a council member from 2017-2019, but at that time, no rule existed in the city charter preventing his membership on council. In November 2019, voters approved a proposition that prohibits candidates from running for election if they are “related within the second degree of affinity or third degree of consanguinity to anyone employed by the City and who holds an executive position with the City, which is defined as the head of any department or division within the City.”

June 2019 Public Hearing

Mr. Baroody was well aware of this proposed rule change on June 4, 2019, when he spoke at length at the public hearing of the Charter Review Committee when this proposed rule was under consideration. On that date, Mr. Baroody spoke for nearly ten minutes, sharing his opinions on numerous proposed changes to the charter. As to the nepotism rule, Baroody stated, “The nepotism thing that you added in there… The question becomes, how many people is that really — what’s the problem trying to be solved there? The state law already exists, I think. It’s been applied to catch that in a financial fashion. If someone is a candidate, or a council member, they just recuse themselves if the job gives a specific salary to a relative, then they have to recuse themselves. Other than that, they’re good to go.” Mr. Baroody continued on to other matters and did not receive a response from the commission. (These statements appear around 37:01 in the video below.)

January 2020 statements

In January of 2020, Mr. Baroody told supporters that he believed he was ineligible to run for city council because of the nepotism rules adopted in the charter amendments. His statements came in response to questions about whether or not he planned to run for council in 2020.

Last-minute filing

It is clear from the two events mentioned above that Mr. Baroody was well aware of the new nepotism rule and how it would apply to his own situation, and had been aware for several months. Despite openly questioning his own eligibility to run, Mr. Baroody did not make any inquiries to City Hall about this rule, and chose not to apply for the ballot until just one day before the final deadline. Candidate applications were accepted beginning on January 15, but Mr. Baroody waited until February 13 to request a spot on the ballot. According to the Kerrville Daily Times and other sources familiar with the matter, Mr. Baroody was notified of his ineligibility on Friday.

The question we now have for Mr. Baroody is: If you knew as far back as June that the charter might preclude you from running for election, why did you not inquire with the city prior to just one day preceding the filing deadline? Was this an intentional ploy to setup a legal challenge? Kerrville United reached out to Mr. Baroody for comment but did not receive an immediate reply. This space will be updated if we receive a response from Mr. Baroody.

What’s Next?

The deadline for a place on the May 2020 ballot has passed, and three challengers’ applications have been accepted. It is not clear at this time whether or not Mr. Baroody will challenge the city’s determination of ineligibility, or what method(s) he would employ. The next deadline is Tuesday, February 18, which is the last day for a candidate to file as a write-in for the May election. Kerrville United will continue to keep our readers updated with any new developments next week.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kerrville United has chosen not to publish the name and position of the relative until the name/position has been officially confirmed by the city or the candidate. It is our position, as publishers of Kerrville United, that this person is an innocent bystander in this situation and should not be exposed to harassment unnecessarily. If Mr. Baroody challenges the ruling further, brings suit against the city, or takes other action that would invite closer scrutiny to this situation, we will publish the information at that time to help our readers make their own judgments about the facts. Until then, we hope that this employee can continue to work without harassment or judgment.