The city of Bedford is expected to call for a special election to replace City Councilwoman Cindy Almendarez who resigned earlier this week after saying she violated the city's charter.
Almendarez said on April 8 she directed members of the police department during the unpermitted meeting of a car club at Pennington Field. She announced her resignation in an email sent to City Manager Jimmy Stathatos, Mayor Michael Boyter and council members.
In a Facebook post, Almendarez said she would accept responsibility, though it was not her "intent to break policy in any way or form."
"In my heart, my intentions were not to be overstepping in any way. I wanted to be of assistance to our community and our first responders during this mayhem," she wrote. "I’m being ousted by members of the existing City Council. I only want the best for us as a community, and I feel City Council should reevaluate their own thoughts and feelings to stay ahead of problems that have dangerously inundated our city and other cities as well."
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Almendarez added that her oversight "has been taken out of context and blown out of proportion," and said "blame should first be placed on those who were derelict in their duty to enforce the peace."
The city's charter said "neither the council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinates of the city manager" and that violations should be considered official misconduct that could result in their being removed.
The police department falls under the purview of the city manager.
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"First, I want to say thank you to Cindy Almendarez for her service to the residents of Bedford and for the passion with which she conducted her duties," said Boyter in a statement. "I don't think anyone can understand the commitment and sacrifice it takes to perform this job. It was a pleasure to serve with Cindy."
Boyter went on to say it was imperative that elected officials comply with their oaths of office and that "interfering with an active police matter, whether with good intentions or not, potentially jeopardizes the safety of all residents as it impedes their ability to conduct their jobs citywide."
The mayor said elected officials are required to work solely through the city manager and that the city manager was in town and available at the time.
Because there is more than a year left on Almendarez's three-year term, the city is expected to announce a special election to replace her and finish the term. That announcement could come on May 10, the date of the next council meeting. Almendarez's Place 1 seat will remain vacant until the election is held.
Earlier this month, the Bedford Police Department said the car club's meetings at Pennington Field resulted in a number of noise complaints and that officers were dispatched to break up the event and issue citations. The department also worked with the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District to make sure access to the lot was restricted when the facilities were not permitted for use.