Goliad city attorney resigns Monday night
by Coy Slavik, Advance-Guard Editor
Jul 21, 2014 | 3643 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GOLIAD – Goliad City Attorney Ashford Taylor announced his resignation before city council Monday night.

A special meeting was called for 8 p.m. Monday by Mayor Anna Lopez Machacek for council to accept the resignation of councilman Buddy Zavesky and consider appointing a new councilperson to fill the vacancy through May 2015.

Corpus Christi attorney Barney Knight, who was hired by city council to mentor Taylor, recommended city council hold off on appointing new council members to replace Zavesky and Lionel Garcia, who resigned a day after Zavesky, and set an agenda item for the next regular meeting to call for an election to fill the two spots in November.

Taylor, who was hired by city council in January, later announced his resignation, making it four city officials to resign in the past week. City Administrator Larry Zermeno submitted his resignation on July 15.

Monday night's meeting was delayed as Machacek didn't arrive to the packed City Hall chamber until 8:22 p.m. after consulting with Kinight. Taylor said he was asked by Machacek to not be part of her discussion with Knight.

Taylor said he earlier informed Knight that there would be no quorum for the meeting with Zavesky and Garcia not in attendance.

"When I saw Mr. Knight, I went to talk to him," Taylor said. "I haven't spoken to him since he was here the first time (June 17) to make his sales pitch to council."

Taylor handed Knight a copy of the Texas Local Government Code's statute on quorums (22.039) that states, "A majority of the number of aldermen established by Section 22.031 for the municipality constitutes a quorum. However, at a called meeting or at a meeting to consider the imposition of taxes, two-thirds of the number of aldermen established by that section constitutes a quorum unless provided otherwise."

Taylor told Machacek and the three attending council members, Joey Thompson, Liz Holsey and Cheryl Worley, that three-fifths did not meet the quorum requirement.

Knight informed council that the state attorney general's office had ruled otherwise, but still recommended council call for an election.

"I think if he had really been confident in that, he would have said, 'Let the meeting go on. Let's do it,' " Taylor said.

Taylor said he felt he "blindsided" Machacek and Knight with the statute.

"I talked to my resources at TML (Texas Municipal League) and they told me these things and I read other attorney generals' opinions," Taylor said. "The mayor and Knight started walking toward the front of City Hall and I just walked with them. She told me she wanted to talk to Mr. Knight alone. I asked why she didn't want to talk to me. She said she just wanted to speak to him.

"I asked her what I had done for her not want to me to be a part of it and she asked Mr. Knight, 'Can he do this?' He said in his long-winded answer that he couldn't make me leave. She looked back at me and said, 'Could you please leave?' I said, 'Ma'am, I would just like to hear what is going on.' She asked me to leave again and I told her, 'Yes ma'am, I respect you.' Then I walked off."

Machacek defended her decision to speak privately with Knight.

"Both were here tonight," Machacek said. "I could have uninvited him (Taylor). … I told him I wanted to speak to Mr. Knight personally and the reason was because we were discussing the attorney general's opinion. That was it.

"It could have been the other way around. They are both city attorneys. I would have done the same thing for any other issue this serious."

Machacek said she regretted Taylor's resignation.

"I didn't think he was going to do that," Machacek said.

After the meeting, former councilman Ed Carter approached council members.

"Well, y'all accomplished what y'all set out to do," he said.

"Oh, hush, Ed," Holsey said to Carter, who lost to Machacek in the recent mayoral election.

"You couldn't have done any better," Worley said to Carter.

Zavesky said Monday night he was never notified by the mayor about the special meeting.

Taylor said he has spoken personally with Machacek only twice since she took office in May.

"It's become apparent that I am somewhat of an adversary to the mayor and council," Taylor said during his resignation announcement

Knight interrupted Taylor's announcement by saying, "This is not on the agenda."

Roney Powell, who lost in his bid for a city council seat in 2013, then stood up and said, "This is not even a meeting, so why sit here and listen to this."

Powell then left the chamber.

Taylor brought up accusations by Holsey that she was "bullied" by Taylor and other members of city council during a March 18 executive session. Holsey has filed complaints with the state attorney general and district attorney, claiming she was treated unfairly in the closed meeting.

"You have one person's opinion about who and what happened," Taylor said. "No one's asked me. Still, to this day, no one has asked me."

More on this story coming to mySouTex.com.

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