A tense city council meeting on Thursday has sparked a movement by a Lubbock citizen to remove Councilman Victor Hernandez from his district one position. Ysidro Gutierrez, a former Lubbock County Commissioner, went to the City Secretary Friday morning to begin the recall process.
It seems the controversy clouding city hall will continue. Originally three complaints were made against Hernandez by city employees who say he created a hostile work environment. One complaint was withdrawn, city council voted to throw out another and the remaining complaint made by Dumbauld will be investigated by outside legal counsel.
During Thursday's council meeting, Councilwoman Latrelle Joy moved to have Dumbauld placed on paid administrative leave for the duration of the investigation. It was a tie vote that failed, but now the tables have turned with Gutierrez fighting to get Hernandez out of city hall.
Gutierrez says the main force driving the recall petition were citizen comments made during the council meeting and Hernandez's responses.
"At issue is one of your members and he voted about himself," the citizen said.
He's referring to Hernandez voting on matters dealing with the complaint made against him by Dumbauld and voting to throw another complaint against him out. His decision to do so has some questioning Hernandez's ethics.
"I appreciate your comments," Hernandez said during the citizen comments. "If I partake in this process through my vote then I am very well aware I do it to the detriment of my own political career. The price I could pay is a political one, but legally I'm within my right."
"Well it seems to me all too often we say, well I was acting within the law when really you were acting in a gray area," the citizen said. "I hope the public understands I will defend myself," Hernandez fired back.
Gutierrez says it was this questionable move by Hernandez that sent him to the City Secretary's office to get the paperwork for the recall petition. "We don't think any elected official should stand on legal grounds. We believe he should stand on what is right, what is moral, and what is ethical," Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez says he will file the petition on Monday. He then has 30 days to get 448 signatures - which is 30% of the district one citizens who voted in the last general municipal election. Of those signatures, 10% had to have voted for Hernandez during that election.
Gutierrez said starting next week he will hit the streets in district one to get the needed signatures.
We called Hernandez to get his response to the recall petition. While he did not call us back, he did post a copy of the email from the city secretary informing him of Gutierrez's intentions on his Facebook page.
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