Although a majority of the Easton City Council disagrees with him on recent issues, Mayor Walter Ward has told the Longview News-Journal he will use the alleged power to bypass opponents of his office to accomplish his goals in the small East Texas town.
“So I’m going to be using my executive powers so they can get ready for it,” Ward told the newspaper. “That means that I’m going to be making some decisions, and if they don’t agree with it, then they’re going to have to move on.”
The newspaper pointed out that Ward’s statement comes days after Councilwoman Shearon Coleman released an audio recording of a recent phone conversation she had with the mayor, in which the two discussed the employment status of City Secretary Precious Wafer.
At a special meeting in September, the council had denied the mayor’s proposal to promote Wafer to the position of city administrator and give her a raise.
During the phone call, Coleman asked Ward if he was going to promote Wafer anyway, and he said he intended to. Ward said he was “going to have to make an executive decision.”
Ward told the News-Journal that Wafer’s job title has not changed “as of right now.”
The mayor expressed his desired to work jointly with neighboring cities on economic development projects, but three of the five members of the council are resisting his efforts. The town southeast of Longview has a population of about 500, according to the Texas State Directory.
“I keep trying to tell them, where the city is trying to go in the next 20 years, we have to have an administrator to help us do what we’re trying to do,” Ward told the newspaper.
Councilwoman LaToyya Wright-Young, one of the council members named by Ward as opposing his plans, said she isn’t trying to form a bloc vote against Ward’s initiatives. She noted that the mayor “is only a tiebreaker vote.”
In August, Ward tried to kick Wright-Young off the council for alleged misconduct. But the council vote deadlocked 2-2 on his motion, and Wright-Young kept her post.