Hours before the April 26 City Council meeting, Place 1 Councilwoman Cindy Almendarez officially resigned from her position in an email to the City Manager, Mayor, and Council. In her statement, she acknowledged she violated the City Charter through her actions on the night of April 8 when she directed members of the Police Department on duty during a car club disturbance at Pennington Field.
In Sec 2.11 of the City Charter, which was approved by Bedford voters, it states, “In regard to administrative and executive duties under the City Manager, the council and its members shall deal solely through the City Manager, and neither the council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinates of the City Manager, either publicly or privately. Willful violation of the foregoing provisions of this charter by any member of the council shall constitute official misconduct and shall authorize the council, by a vote of a majority of its membership, to remove such violating member from the council if found in violation after public hearing, and thereby create a vacancy in the place held by such member.”
“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 Mayor Michael Boyter. “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. However, I think it is important for people to know the Bedford City Charter dictates the duties and rules that govern how elected officials must conduct themselves. It is imperative that we, as elected officials, comply with our Oath of Office and training in upholding these standards. Directly 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 men and women of the Bedford Police Department are some of the most trained professionals in their field, and it is important for the Council to respect their efforts. Such interference also constitutes a violation of Sec. 2.11 of the City Charter and this language makes it clear that elected officials are required to work solely through the City Manager. Our City Manager was in town at the time of the incident and available. I know that I speak for the entire organization in saying the safety and security of all Bedford residents is of tantamount importance.”
In response to the unpermitted April 8 car group event, the Bedford Police Department initiated a multi-step plan to prevent similar future events. These plans were developed through routine police procedure when reacting to a public disturbance situation.
Due to Almendarez’s actions, the Council placed an item on the April 26 executive session agenda to discuss what occurred and to take any action they felt necessary based on the severity of the Charter violation. The Council did not take any action due to her resignation prior to the meeting.
The City Council will discuss the next steps to fill Place 1 during the May 10 City Council meeting. Since Bedford City Council members have three-year terms and Councilwoman Almendarez had more than a year left in her term, a special election is required. Until that time, the Council seat will remain vacant.