In light of Monday’s events, it is unclear if Corpus Christi Mayor Dan McQueen will be leading the council today. More importantly, will he continue to be the mayor? According to the January 16, 2017, Caller-Times article, there is no indication from other council members that McQueen is resigning his post. But, what if he did?
Unlike the confusion that occurred when former Councilman Mark Scott resigned so close to the regular election and was a holdover until his replacement was appointed or termed out, the City Charter is quite clear on what will happen. According to Article 2, Section 12, this is what will happen when more than a year is left in the term:
Sec. 12. Vacancy in Office of Mayor. (a) In the event of death, resignation, permanent disability, forfeiture of office, recall or impeachment of the mayor, or if for any reason a vacancy shall exist in the office of mayor, the council member elected at large who received the highest number of votes in the last regular election shall immediately become the mayor, provided that such council member shall not be at that time the subject of any recall petition on file with the city secretary. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event more than one year remains until the next regular city council election or the council member designated to become mayor is the subject of a recall petition on file with the city secretary, a special election shall be called by the then remaining council members to fill the vacancy in the office of mayor, and if there then are no remaining council members such special election shall be forthwith called by the county judge of Nueces County, Texas. (b) Any person who becomes mayor as provided above shall have all the duties and powers of the mayor for the remainder of the unexpired term of the mayor, unless sooner removed as provided in this charter. In the event a council member becomes mayor, the office of the council member shall become vacant, and such vacancy shall be filled as provided in this article.
The “special election” may be similar to the one happening in February in Frisco, Texas, or it could have other stipulations. The Corpus Christi City Attorney and City Secretary would be the local experts on the options the remaining eight Council Members would have as the legislative leaders of a “home rule” city. The Secretary of State offers the context – but not specifics – regarding our City Charter:
- Term of office – 2 years/can opt for up to 4 (Tex. Const. Article XI, Section 11)*
- Population – more than 5,000
- Vacancies are filled as provided in charter.*
Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day. She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.