McKinney Councilman Steps Down ‘Not by Choice, but by Rezoning'

Thornton had been appointed Dec. 1 after the city recalled former councilman La'Shadion Shemwell in November

christopher thornton
NBC 5/City of McKinney

The McKinney city councilmember appointed to take the seat of La'Shadion Shemwell is stepping down after learning that he didn't live within the lines of the district he represented.

Chris Thornton represented District 1 of the city before learning his home sits in District 3 -- just more than 10 feet removed from the district line.

"I cannot be the councilor for District 1. Not by choice, but by rezoning," Thornton said in Tuesday's council meeting. "When we looked at the zone, I am 10-feet-10-inches out of the district line. And so, because of that fact, I can't represent District 1."

McKinney Mayor George Fuller said the situation was a result of a legal requirement in the city charter that says councilmembers must live inside the district they serve.

At the meeting, Fuller told Thornton that he knew he believed he was a District 1 resident and had been before redistricting.

City Secretary Empress Drane addressed council members Tuesday night, saying it was her responsibility to confirm the residency of an appointed or elected city council member and that she had "made a regrettable mistake."

"This was not a mistake or error with any harmful intent or any misleading intent. But it was really an honest mistake or oversight," she said.

Thornton had been appointed Dec. 1 after the city recalled former councilman La'Shadion Shemwell in November. He was to hold the position until the next city council election in May.

The city may hold a special meeting next week to find Thornton's replacement. Council members must live in their district for one year before being elected or appointed, Drane said.

"You may see my name in the future, and we will see where this journey leads to. I hate it, but that's what it is."

Thornton, a lifelong McKinney resident, is the Associate Pastor at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church in McKinney and the Pastor of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Colbert, Oklahoma.

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