One month after racial Facebook posts, Texas mayor faces lawsuit

Hays

Woodcreek city council member claims mayor abused her power

City of Woodcreek

WOODCREEK, Texas (KXAN) — A Woodcreek city council member has filed a lawsuit against the city’s mayor, alleging she abused her power in several instances over the course of 2020.

Brent Pulley says Mayor Gloria Whitehead has blocked public comment, refused to place his requested items on city council agendas and directed the city attorney to pursue her personal matters, according to the lawsuit.

The papers were filed in Hays County on Friday.

In the filings, Pulley alleges that Whitehead ignored Woodcreek City Council’s rules of procedure as well as the Texas Open Meetings Act by blocking public comment during city council meetings.

Pulley says he expressed concern to city staff and other elected officials both privately and during council meetings that citizens were not being allowed to speak.

He says the “dispute reached a crescendo in June of 2020 when Whitehead authored
multiple incendiary Facebook posts that brought the City into the national limelight.”

Pulley alleges that the mayor allowed public comment in meetings before backlash surrounding her Facebook posts.

“Public comments were allowed at the council meetings on December 11, December 12, January 3, January 8, February 12, March 11, March 23, and May 13. It was only after Whitehead’s Facebook comments fiasco did Whitehead arbitrarily refuse to allow public comments at every meeting since,” Pulley states.

Pulley also writes that Whitehead did not allow him to place items on the city council agendas, including in June and July.

“It was abundantly clear at this point that Whitehead was refusing to allow Plaintiff to participate as a member of the governing body,” Pulley states.

Pulley was among some city council members and citizens who condemned the mayor’s Facebook posts.

The lawsuit also claims Whitehead instructed the city attorney “to pursue pet projects without authorization from the City’s governing body.”

Pulley calls the mayor’s actions “an effort to maintain an autocratic stranglehold over the governing body.”

The city council member is asking the court to declare the mayor’s actions illegal and void, and asks the judge to stop her from continuing those actions until a final judgement is made.

The lawsuit also seeks monetary reimbursement “of any funds wrongfully paid to City Attorney [Bud] Wymore” and a reimbursement of Pulley’s court fees, as well.

Bud Wymore is currently running for Texas House District 45.

According to court documents, Pulley was elected to city council in 2009 and served through November 2013. He was re-elected in November 2019.

KXAN reached out to Mayor Gloria Whitehead, who declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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