TEMPLE — In a public statement he released last Thursday, Temple Mayor Danny Dunn said Mayor Pro Tem Judy Morales told him she would resign if charges were brought against her by Bell County.
A charge of destroying, removing or altering public information was brought against Morales on Tuesday by Bell County District Attorney Jim Nichols. She turned herself in to Bell County Jail, paid her bail and was released.
Phone calls to Morales and her Temple attorney, Stephen Blythe, on the issue were not returned Wednesday by press time.
The council is scheduled to discuss the charges against Morales and the impact of those charges on her council duties during a special meeting at 3 p.m. Monday.
“As always, any final decision or action will be decided by the mayor and other council members; however, the council will seek legal advice from the city attorney regarding this situation,” Dunn said in an email reply to questions on Wednesday.
Councilman Russell Schneider said Wednesday that he’d be willing to go into open session to take a vote after the meeting Monday.
Councilman Tim Davis said no one knew if Morales was going to show up at Monday’s meeting or what the tone of the meeting would be.
“We need the opportunity to gauge what she is thinking. You don’t want the council to make a decision with knee-jerk reactions. We need to make a deliberate decision,” Davis said.
Davis said he was amazed and disappointed at how quickly some residents jumped to conclusions before the final charges were named.
“Some say what a great person she is and there should be no consequences. Others convict the council for inaction. We’re not the judge and jury. We can’t make everyone happy,” Davis said.
But Davis said he believes Morales should resign now. “She came back against my wishes and I told her that.”
Dunn said in the March 6 statement that he’d asked Morales to resign at least four times if she thought she was guilty of the allegations made against her.
Morales took a leave of absence in November and told the council she didn’t want to be a distraction from council business.
“I’m way disappointed in Morales. I have no confidence in her. But we’re following the charter and the law to make our decision,” Schneider added. “She should have removed herself in the beginning and taken care of her personal situation on her own time.”