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Why the Uvalde CISD Police Chief was privately sworn in as a city council member

A public meeting previously scheduled to swear in city council members including Pete Arredondo was canceled following the Robb Elementary shooting.

UVALDE, Texas — Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo was elected to the Uvalde City Council four weeks prior to the Robb Elementary shooting.

Arredondo, and two other city council members, were privately sworn in 24 hours after Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin canceled the ceremony scheduled for Tuesday night.

In a one-on-one interview conducted Wednesday, Mayor McLaughlin says he was not at the ceremony and didn't like the swear-in taking place the same day victims of the mass shooting were being laid to rest.

"I don't like it at all...but we have a city charter, we have to follow the law too," Mayor McLaughlin said.

According to the city charter, city council members and the mayor shall take office on the 24th day after the general election is held.

The initial announcement set off a wave of criticism, with people questioning whether or not the swear-in ceremony was private.

Mayor McLaughlin said Wednesday he was not present for the ceremony.

According to UTSA Political Science Department Chair Jon Taylor, there is nothing in the city charter or Texas state law that requires local elected officials to be publicly sworn in.

"When it comes to politics, it's about how things look as much as anything else, and this looks terrible by what they did," Taylor said.

KENS 5 also reviewed the charter and Texas Open Meetings Act laws.

Under the city charter, a quorum is reached when four members of the council which could include the mayor, are present. Under the Open Meetings Act, there are exceptions including personnel matters to deliberate appointments of a public officer.

But according to the city, there was no meeting held and each council member came in on their own accord to be sworn in by the city secretary.

"Given the lack of transparency we've seen already this past week, it was not smart politics," Taylor said.

KENS 5 has reached out to the city for additional comment and we are waiting to hear from them.

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