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Blanco City Council Appoints Bharat Patel to Fill Vacant Position

Posted: Thu Jun 18 2015 3:44 PM

NOTE -- This announcement is regarding the unexpired term of Al Turner. For the unexpired term of Robert "Bobby Mack" McClung, the city is [[|seeking applicants for the vacant position]]. At the June 16th Blanco City Council meeting, the Blanco City Council voted to appoint Mr. Bharat Patel to fill the unexpired City Council term of deceased Councilman Al Turner. Patel, owner of the Blanco Best Western Hotel, was one of four applicants for the vacant position. Other applicants were Tony Vela, Blanco High School teacher; Matt Lewis, local business owner; and Paul Lukich, a Senior Underwriter Supervisor for USAA in San Antonio. At the City Council meeting on June 9, 2015, the Council unanimously voted to fill the vacant seat by appointment rather than by special election. Both methods are allowed by state law. At the June 16 Council meeting, council members reviewed the application packets submitted by each applicant and, in executive session, interviewed each candidate in turn. No discussion of which candidate to select occurred closed session. Returning to open session, Mayor Peele asked each Council member to state his or her first choice to fill the vacant position and give their rationale for their choice. After receiving input from each Council member, Mayor Peele asked for a motion for appointment, a second, and a vote. Mr. Patel, the winning candidate, was administered the oath of office and sworn in to fill the vacant position until the next regular City Council election in May 2016. Following the action, Mayor Peele stated, “I’d like to clarify a confusion concerning the procedures followed for this appointment. I wanted an open process and that is why we solicited applications from interested citizens. We got four. I wish there had been more.” “Prior to the June 16 Council meeting,” Mayor Peele continued, “City Councilman Bobby McClung submitted his resignation, apparently believing that the resignation would create two vacant Council positions and thus force a special election. Councilman McClung’s resignation letter was dated June 15, 2015, the day prior to the announced Council meeting. The resignation, however, does not become effective until June 23 as state law proscribes an effective date eight days after a resignation is submitted. Thus, on June 16, the City Council voted to appoint Mr. Patel to the vacant council position in accordance with the procedure previously agreed to by all Council Members, including Mr. McClung. Mr. McClung was still on the Council despite his letter of resignation and could have voted on the appointment had he chosen to do so.” “Alternatively, Mr. McClung should have resigned more than 8 days prior to the meeting which he agreed to had he wished to force a special election.” Mayor Peele concluded, saying “Councilman McClung’s past service is greatly appreciated and we will miss his wise counsel and enthusiastic engagement on City issues. Now we will go through the process to fill his Council seat and finally have a full City Council. We need smart, hard working people on the City Council in order to move the City forward. I urge citizens who are registered voters and residents of Blanco to apply for this position that is being vacated. “

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