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2016-05-26

Showdown shoots Coffey into open seat

By Sandy Jennings BCC Staff Writer

Cindy Coffey reads her letter of interest for council seat.

Photos by Sandy Jennings

Glenn Clark makes his case for another shot at council.



In what played out like an old classic western saloon showdown, Bandera City Council met Thursday, May 19, with a full agenda, but only one item packed the standing-room-only municipal chamber – appointing someone to fill the remaining term of former Mayor Pro Tem Suzanne Schauman.
Following departmental reports and item A on the action agenda, Councilman Rebeca Gibson called for a motion to move items F – appoint city council member to fill the remainder of Schuman’s term – and G – appoint mayor pro term to replace Schauman – to the top of the list. After Councilman Sheila Pumphrey seconded the motion, Councilman Jim Hannah immediately moved for a motion to instate former city council member, Glenn Clark, to the open seat.
“I thought we were going to discuss all candidates first, allow them an opportunity to speak and then vote,” Gibson said.
Tension in the room mounted as Hannah continued to discuss Clark's attributes and immediately made a motion to appoint him to council. However, Hannah’s motion died for a lack of a second.
Gibson asked Pumphrey if she had heard from any citizens interested in the position. “Yes, I received a letter of interest from Cindy Coffey,” Pumphrey said.
Gibson asked Coffey to read her letter. The audience shuffled and murmured as Coffey stepped to the podium.
In the lengthy letter, Coffey highlighted her past experience and desire to “become involved in local government – especially when there is a clear and apparent need.”
Coffey also noted that she wanted to “maintain the momentum of this council” and “with 10 years of city council experience,” she felt she could “best assist the council with the tasks that lie ahead.”
After finishing her presentation, a woman from the audience yelled out, “Why didn't you let Glenn talk,” to which Gibson replied that she had, in fact, encouraged Clark to speak on his behalf.
Another person yelled, “No, you didn’t,” and the verbal attacks on Gibson continued until Clark stepped to the podium.
After reminding council of his past experience as a council member, Clark told the audience he’s “… used to dealing with the problems Bandera faces.” Clark, who serves on the Planning and Zoning Commission, also noted, "No matter how you vote, I’m not going away. I’m here to stay."
As soon as Clark was seated, Gibson made a motion to appoint Cindy Coffey to Schauman’s vacated seat with Pumphrey seconding it. Hegemier called for a vote and Gibson and Pumphrey voted in favor with Hannah voting against.
Hegemier immediately asked Coffey to be sworn in, but Coffey insisted that the action needed to be on the agenda. Hegemier reread the agenda item F for the record. However, Coffey said she was not comfortable coming in to a meeting in progress and felt it would hamper the council's ability to complete the current agenda.
As the meeting continued, several spectators asked Coffey questions about her past experience – where she was from and how long she had lived in Bandera. Coffey answered questions, thanked the council and walked out, accompanied by several people.
While the Q&A with Coffey was taking place, Pumphrey made a motion for Hannah to fill the mayor pro tem position. Gibson seconded it and the motion carried.
Following the appointment of Coffey, protracted discussions about city signage ensued, as well as proposals for amendments. In the end, all recommendations for actions to be taken were tabled until the next City Council Meeting on Thursday, June 2.