New City Council members sworn in

Hearne's City Council gathers Tuesday night as new members were sworn in.

Hearne's new City Council members were sworn in Tuesday night and were immediately tasked with deciding on appointing an interim city manager after Mayor Ruben Gomez announced City Manager Pee Wee Drake abruptly resigned last week.

Rodrick Jackson, Martha Castilleja and Margaret Salvaggio were sworn into council places two, four and six, respectively, during the council meeting. They joined returning council members Emmitt Aguirre and Shirley Harris to discuss and take action on the city manager position.

During the April council meeting, council members gave the city secretary permission to advertise for the position.

Although Drake never confirmed that he was retiring or resigning, The Eagle obtained a letter addressed to the City Council from the city manager, stating that his last day would be May 31.

Drake said in the letter that "as a [Texas Municipal League] retiree and in accordance with [Texas Municipal League] employment rules" he would retire at the end of the month.

During Tuesday night's meeting, Gomez announced Drake had verbally resigned from his position last week and his last day was May 13. By resigning, Drake forfeited his retirement.

While the position has been posted online for nearly a month, Gomez asked the council to propose and approve an interim city manager until the council can review the candidates.

Harris, who voted against advertising the position in April, said since the City Council did not receive his notice of resignation in writing, the city manager position has not been legally vacated. Without written proof from Drake, Harris said the council cannot appoint another person.

"We should vacate the position first -- whether it is by resignation or termination," she said. "Otherwise, he can walk into the office tomorrow and be city manager. He has not vacated the position."

At the request of several council members, a special meeting is expected to take place early next week to select an interim candidate once a written resignation from Drake is submitted.

The majority of the pending motions on Tuesday's agenda were adjourned until the next meeting.

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