Hammonds Sworn In, Coffman Elected Mayor Pro Tem
MIDLOTHIAN – A farewell to outgoing Place 3 City Councilmember/Mayor Pro Tem Ted Miller led the first few minutes of the Midlothian City Council meeting this past week. Midlothian Mayor Richard Reno expressed “The baton is being passed tonight from the outgoing Ted Miller and the incoming Anna Hammonds. It is a happy occasion because we had what was a model race between four contenders.
It was run with professionalism and courtesy, but it is sad also because Ted Miller will be leaving us after nine years on the council and additional years on the P & Z Committee. Ted has served the city well and we will miss him. Ted has a reputation for speaking straight, you ask him a question and he would give you a straight answer.”
After Reno’s words, Miller received a standing ovation from the audience.
The newest member of the council, Hammonds was sworn in after being elected to the Place 3 seat in the June 18 runoff election.
Hammonds was in attendance with members of her family who stood at the podium with her before she took her seat on the dais.
After Hammonds was sworn in Reno said he wanted to take a moment after the swearing in to make a few brief comments.
‘A New Start’
“Council I have a feeling that we are at a new start,” Reno said. “It is not unlike a new school year where we have things in front us and a new slate. For the last three years we have been working toward this moment, preparing things, the bond election a lot of work.
In front of us we have several major projects that we are going to be doing over the next year or two. The City Hall, the Police Station, the safety public, the roads, and the new district coming in, we have other things going on, we have a great city here. But we also have a moment of uncertainty with the economy and other things. I am very hopeful for what is in front of us, and I know this council will rise to the occasion and that we will serve the city well.”
The oath of office was followed by the election of a new Mayor Pro Tem for the City Council. Reno nominated, with no dissent, Place 5 Justin Coffman for the seat of Mayor Pro Tem. Coffman won the seat unanimously.
Residents Speak About Roe v. Wade
There were three citizens who signed up to speak during public comments, one was not available when the time came, but the additional two spoke on the Roe vs. Wade decision, which overturned an almost 50-year decision by the Supreme Court.
Both who spoke congratulated Hammonds and went on remind council how Midlothian residents felt about the recent overturning, and the desire to make sure Midlothian still passes its own ordnance.
John Hammaker said “That is a big deal to a lot of people. A lot of us celebrated.”
He then spoke for unborn babies as well, saying these babies were also celebrating.
“We have a lot of opportunity in this city to make our stand and you guys as representatives have a responsibility to represent us. There are a number of folks that I know support this ordinance and what it looks like. We came a couple of months ago and had some help from outside in Texas Right to Life putting that ordinance together.” He went on to remind that he believed there would be more legislation in the United States and Texas to try and undo what the Supreme Court did and said “We don’t want Midlothian to be part of that and we need to get that settled now. We know, our citizens know where we stand, where you stand.”
This speaker reminded council “We don’t want this to come to referendum, we don’t need to spend a lot of time and a lot of money trying to fight outside influences that are going to try and sway that.”
He said a lot of “us voted” then pointed to Hammonds “that topic is important to a lot of people in this city. I hope that what you do is consistent with what the original Texas Right to Life version looked like. That had a lot of teeth in it, had a lot of merit, it had the support of an attorney who said he would back us. I hope that when we are done, you guys are done, and we have a final product that it is consistent enough that it is doing what it was intended to do.”
Ordinance A Future Agenda Item
Another speaker, Hugh Reynolds congratulated Hammonds and added he wanted to emphasize that many residents believe that even with the passing of the overturned Roe vs. Wade the city still needs an ordinance.
“We need protection not only at the state levels, but the cities and I would add even the counties. We need to protect our families, our unborn, our mothers and I believe that one of the reasons this is so important we don’t know what the future holds at the state level.”
This ordinance discussion with the City of Midlothian Council began several months ago.
Now, with residents still adamant about the passing of a city ordinance, while council made no comment, the passing or denying of a future city ordinance will be on the council agenda soon.
Councilmember Appointments to Committees Tabled
The agenda also called for the appointing of various councilmembers to committees. These committees included the Nomination and Utility Subcommittees, as well as council board liaison positions for Midlothian Community Development Corporation, Midlothian Economic Development, Mid-Way Regional Airport Board, Planning & Zoning Commission.
While Reno named nominees for the committees, it was uncertain if all council members approved. Place 6 Hud Hartson requested the nominations be tabled “until council has a chance to discuss in executive session.”
Since this item was not on the Executive Session agenda for the evening it was moved to Executive Session in the future. Hartson’s motion received a second, and council voted 5 – 2 to table the item. Mayor Reno and Place One Wayne Sibley were the two council members who did not want to discuss this item in Executive Session before nominations were passed or denied.