Converse councilwoman to keep her seat until January trial

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Kate Silvas will keep her seat on the Converse City Council until at least Jan. 13 when a judge will hear her case.

On Oct. 22, council members voted 4-0-1, with Mayor Al Suarez abstaining, to boot Silvas from their ranks on the allegation she had violated the city charter by directly asking city staff for public records. That charter directs council members to consult with the city manager for those records.

District Judge Mary Lou Alvarez signed an injunction Wednesday allowing Silvas to keep her seat until a trial of the lawsuit challenging her removal is held, the San Antonio Express-News reported. 

Silvas, who was elected to the council last November, said she was just trying to obtain information she could use to make educated decisions as a council member. She had legal rights to the documents as any citizen would.

In addition to questioning how Silvas asked for the records, council members expressed displeasure at the more than 5,000 pages of budgets, audits and other records compiled by City Manager Le Ann Piatt to comply with the open-records requests. Councilwoman Kathy Richel, who made the motion to remove Silvas from the council, said the research was taking up too much of Piatt’s time.

Silvas told The Texas Monitor earlier this week the attempt to remove her from the council was a political “witch hunt” by Suarez to put a stain on her mayoral campaign against him. Suarez, in an email to The Texas Monitor, denied those allegations.

On Tuesday Suarez handily won re-election to a seventh term in that election, garnering 64 percent of the vote. Silvas was second with 19 percent of the vote and her fellow councilwoman Deborah James got 16 percent of the ballots cast.

Silvas’ attorney told the Express-News that Alvarez was amenable to a quick adjudication of the case.

“We represented that we would like to go to trial as rapidly as we could on this matter,” he told the newspaper. 

Silvas did not respond to an email and phone calls requesting comment on the outcome of hearing, but she previously told The Texas Monitor, “I’m on council and I’ll remain on council.”

 Johnny Kampis can be reached at [email protected].

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