Bellmead council members planned to meet, defy mayor

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Four members of the Bellmead City Council said they planned to meet Tuesday evening despite an order from the mayor that all public meetings be canceled or postponed, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported. 

Mayor Travis Gibson declared a state of disaster for Bellmead on Monday due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, after consulting with the Texas Municipal League and members of the city’s emergency management team.

The council planned to meet Tuesday to discuss a contract that would move interim city manager Yost Zakhary to permanent status, a move that Gibson opposes, the newspaper reported. 

“This doesn’t have anything to do with [Tuesday]. Let’s get that on the record,” Gibson told the Tribune-Herald. “My number one priority is to be proactive instead of reactive, because I am the type of person who would rather be prepared rather than not prepared at all.”

Zakhary said he was told Monday afternoon that four of the six council members planned to hold the meeting, questioning the mayor’s authority to call it off without input from the council. The members who planned to meet are William B. Ridings, James Cleveland, Doss Youngblood and Gary Moore, the Tribune-Herald reported.

Zakhary, who previously served as city manager in Woodway, said a dispute of this magnitude is unprecedented in his experience.

“In 40 years in government I have never had this happen before,” Zakhary said. “My only goal is to get back to serving the residents of the City of Bellmead.”

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