GALENA PARK, Texas – The fight between city officials in Galena Park is far from over.
It all stems from the newly-elected Mayor Esmeralda Moya firing several city leaders in her first act of office. But they refused to leave and it's sparked on ongoing debate.
On Monday afternoon, it was Moya versus her four city commissioners. The meeting room was packed with a vocal overflow crowd, who clearly sided with the mayor.
In the first brief meeting, commissioners shut down the mayor, who wanted to talk about her attempted firing of three top city officials – the city attorney, city police chief and city administrator.
Instead, the council quickly voted to hire outside legal counsel and adjourn. Moments later, they reconvened a second round.
In the second meeting, things got even more heated with shouting and pounding.
Commissioner Danny Simms was her chief opponent. He made motions that mayor could not unilaterally fire people, that that the mayor could not limit access to City Hall, and that he, the mayor pro tem, could sign all checks approved by commissioners.
All the motions passed.
The mayor said she is trying to clean up mismanagement and misappropriation of funds. In particular, she pointed to Simms saying he and other commissioners are not full-time employees and therefore should not have city health insurance coverage.
“They were being covered by city – $167,000 for one employee. That is the city’s money,” Moya said.
She also said she changed the locks to City Hall to prevent important documents from being removed from the building and destroyed.
Outside there is a move to start a petition drive to remove the commissioners.
Moya took office July 1 and then she tried to fire the three officials July 2.