WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — District 5 City Councilor Steve Jackson left Tuesday’s council meeting early.
Discussion about the Circle Trail project is what began Tuesday’s banter. Jackson said he apologized to the council but he said all of his outbursts stem from his passion to help the community.
Fiery discussion at Tuesday’s Wichita Falls City Council meeting stemmed from discussion of the Circle Trail. Three hours after that incident during council, Jackson left the meeting before it was adjourned after giving his comments.
“I just didn’t want to be confronted in front of anybody. I didn’t want it to be on TV or anything so I thought it’d be best for me just to leave,” Jackson said.
Mayor Stephen Santellana said this kind of behavior is unacceptable at council meetings.
“At no point am I going to allow councilors to yell at each other, curse at each other, curse at staff members, yell at other citizens, or walk out. If we start doing that, then we’re gonna start dismissing councilors for that meeting. I’ll have our city attorney look into options on what we can do if we can do anything,” Santellana said.
One of those options is a recall vote by the council.
In 2019, the council voted to publicly censure Jackson for making false claims that city leaders had plans to go behind citizens’ backs to build a multi-purpose city hall.
The city charter states the council can discipline its own members but they cannot remove any members except if one is convicted of a felony. Jackson says he has no fear of anything like that happening again.
“The mayor tried to remove me from office last time and I hired a law firm out of Forney, Texas and I’ve been in contact with them and they will be in contact with the city attorney. I’m not worried about it, they’ll take care of it,” Jackson said.
While the council and community members explain their passion for the city during meetings, Jackson said he wants to better the city but Santellana says there are proper ways to show that passion.
“I don’t only work for district 5, I have people call me from all over Wichita county, and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll get it for them. All I wanna do is make it a better place for us all to live. I don’t wanna make it any harder than what it already is,” Jackson said.
“We never wanna stop anybody from our first amendment rights to speak freely, but also we can’t have constant interruptions. That’s something that if we can’t conduct a meeting civilly then there’s gonna be some repercussions to that. It’s not how we want our representatives to represent Wichita Falls and I hope the voters see that,” Santellana said.
Working to better the city of Wichita Falls but also hoping to have decorum while doing it.
In the meeting, Jackson also mentioned councilors should be drug tested by the city and showed his own hair follicle test to prove his point.
According to the Wichita Falls City Clerk, a member of the City Council can be removed by a Recall Election, and the recall process is covered under Sections 24-33 in the Charter. Click here to read the city charter.