Council Members Walk Out of Chamber – Meeting Ends with No Quorum

CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News) — The Katy City Council meeting ended abruptly Monday night when members Chris Harris and Jimmy Mendez walked out and left the meeting without the minimum number of members legally required to continue the meeting. Two agenda items created contention. One would make employees who were suspended without pay and then terminated wait five years before being eligible to be rehired by the city. The other would penalize a person who publically discloses any information discussed in an executive session. Both items were tabled but not before things got heated.

Ward B Council Member Jimmy Mendez tagged, or delayed, the items, saying he wanted more information on the proposed ordinances. The items are expected to be considered at the next regular council meeting, set for June 24 but there will be new members and a new mayor when that happens. The council meets in special session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to canvass, or certify, the May 4 city election results and swear in Mayor-Elect Bill Hastings, Ward B Council Member-Elect Jenifer Jordan Stockdick, and Ward A Council Member Frank Carroll. Stockdick will succeed Mendez, who was term-limited from seeking reelection.

Clearly dismayed that the controversial items were postponed, Ward A Council Member Frank Carroll suggested a discussion of the issues, with no action being taken. But Council Member-at-Large Chris Harris said he received his council packet—background materials all council members receive before a meeting—after the deadline, which was 5 p.m. Friday. For this reason, City Attorney Art Pertile said, discussion on the items was not possible in open session.

Carroll, supported by Ward A Council Member Janet Corte, pushed for the next item on the agenda, an executive session, to discuss the issues privately. Harris said the city had just gone through a divisive election and asked why these matters had to be addressed now. The issue went to a vote, with Carroll, Corte, and Mayor Pro Tem Durran Dowdle voting 3-2 over Mendez and Harris to proceed to an executive session to continue the discussion in private. Harris and Mendez then left the meeting, thus leaving the council without a quorum, and the meeting adjourned less than an hour after it began.

In February, Mendez tagged a vote on Noe Diaz, who had been nominated by Mayor Chuck Brawner to become Katy police chief. The council approved Diaz at its next meeting in March, and he has since taken office.

After the meeting, Corte said that even if no action were taken on the proposed reinstatement ordinance, it was important to discuss it.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on out there that people don’t understand,” Corte said.

Maria Horn Galvez – Facebook photo

Corte said the proposed ordinance did not deal with the situation involving former city emergency management coordinator Maria Horn Galvez, who was fired in March 2018 and has since filed suit against the city. Corte, who was elected in May 2018 to the council, said she couldn’t comment on the Galvez situation, as it happened before she took office.

“This is not just for her, it’s for anybody,” Corte said. “We don’t have a good rehire option.”

Other action Monday, the council:

– Amended the rates charged by the Katy Fire Department for services provided to communities or unincorporated areas that don’t have a mutual aid agreement with the city.

– Authorized the mayor to sign an amendment to the business services agreement with Consolidated Communications.

– Authorized the mayor to sign a software license, maintenance, and support agreement with Vermont Systems, Inc.

– Recognized May 2019 as Senior Citizens Month, and Nevelynn Melendy as 2019 Senior Citizen of the Year.

– Recognized the week of May 19-25 as National Public Works Week.

– Recognized Medic 1, Tower 1, and Battalion Chief 1, of the Katy Fire Department, for actions taken to save a man’s life.

– Watched a presentation about the city’s latest fiscal year, which ended September 30.

– Canceled the regular city council meeting on June 10, for lack of quorum.

– Called a special city council meeting for June 17.

– Approved meeting minutes for the February 25, March 11, March 25, and April 8 council meetings.

– Approved the No Label Brewery 1st Street 5K, set for June 15.

– Accepted public improvements at the Woodcreek Reserve Municipal Utility for Cook Field Road.

Our previous story on this subject:

Council Member to Seek Delay for Ordinance for Rehiring Suspended Employees

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