COPPERAS COVE — Copperas Cove City Councilman Charlie Youngs is stepping down as the city’s Place 7 council member.
Youngs submitted his resignation in an email to City Manager Ryan Haverlah on Sunday. The email was included in the agenda for Tuesday’s city council meeting, which was released Friday morning.
The brief resignation letter had a subject line of “step down.” In the body of the email, Youngs wrote, “I will take the pressure off the council. I will step down from the council effective 6:08 p.m. on 24 August 2019.”
The timestamp on the email indicates it was sent to Haverlah at 6:11 p.m. on Aug. 24.
The resignation comes after Youngs made a rude gesture during an Aug. 13 special city council meeting on items related to the city budget. Near the end of the two-hour meeting, Councilman Kirby Lack decided to address the comments made by Youngs the previous week. Lack described himself as one of four city council members criticized for, in Youngs’ words, trying to “destroy” the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce. Youngs acknowledged and agreed with Lack’s description. Lack then called most of Youngs’ comments from the previous week “absolutely false.” Almost immediately afterward, Youngs can be seen raising his right arm and extending his right middle finger. The gesture was extremely brief, with Youngs putting his arm back down at his side quickly.
Lack continued speaking, saying that no one was trying to destroy the Chamber of Commerce. He said the leadership of the chamber had been asked to show receipts for money they spent, and that the request was refused. The council voted to stop giving money to the chamber unless those receipts were produced, according to Lack.
Lack also said he supported the chamber’s current leadership and looked forward to working with them.
A video pointing out the rude gesture circulated on social media and generated calls for his resignation, Youngs admitted in an interview with the Killeen Daily Herald that he had made the gesture, though he denied it was aimed at Lack. He said he was directing it toward someone in the audience, though he did not want to publicly name that person.
The city council must now consider and vote on whether to accept Youngs’ resignation. That will happen Tuesday at the next regular city council meeting.
The next item on the agenda following the consideration of Youngs’ resignation is the scheduling of a special election to fill the Place 7 opening. City staff has recommended that the Place 7 special election take place at the same time as the Nov. 5 general election for three other city council positions. Candidates must fill out an application to run in the election and submit it to the city secretary’s office by 5 p.m. Sept. 26.
The council’s agenda for Tuesday still shows an executive scheduled for the end of the meeting to consider “a complaint or charge against an officer,” specifically City Council member, Place 7. Councilman Lack had said after the Aug. 20 council meeting that an executive session would be held to discuss Youngs’ gesture. He also said he might file a further complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission.
Lack and Youngs did not respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.