Silsbee council members face recall, others just want unity.
A brief history set-up - Silsbee’s mayor resigned last month in a letter to The Brooks Report saying that he had “lost confidence in the way in which the city’s business is being conducted.” Mike Tomas, the former mayor, cited city costs for the proposed hotel, the council’s administrative procedures, and the lack of support for the police as the cause for his decision. The city council accepted his resignation in a vote of 5 to 0 on Dec. 18. Public response has been mixed, but many ask that the council find a way to unify. One resident, Alexandria Motes, was moved to start a petition to recall the city council members beginning with Sue Bard. The petition on www.change.org reads: “I started this petition in order to raise awareness for our community. Within one night of this petition being up, I was messaged and told that City Council demanded this be taken down. I am now reopening this petition due to the reasons that the council believes they can bully anyone they please. As most know, Silsbee has been constantly stuck in economical growth. As tax paying citizens, we should be able to have our voices heard without our time wasted. With the current members of the council, we are unable to move the city of Silsbee forward into a better direction. We are calling for a recall of the city council except for Paul Davis, so that we can change for the better. In order to recall the council legally, we will need the number equal to 30% of the voters who voted in last year’s municipal election and no less than 150 signatures in INK. I hope this spreads awareness and that our city can come together to give ourselves a better place to live.” The Brooks Report reached out to Motes for further comment but did not receive a response. By Monday, Jan. 13, there were only 244 signatures (of a needed 500) to the petition. Petitioners want to progress but Bard, a longtime council member, cautions that the mayor’s job is a thankless position. “Anyone who knows anything about what being a mayor involves and what limits a mayor has, wouldn't run for that position.” It's a lot of responsibility without much reward, she cited and continued, “With that said, I am one of a few others who have applied for a FEMA buy out due to regular flooding,” she said. She will likely move out of the area, she said, which will make her ineligible to remain on the council or run for the mayor’s office. However, Bard didn’t stop there she had further advice for future mayor candidates. “But I am deeply concerned about who will run for that position,” she said. “I hope that person is viewed by others as wise, pragmatic, and knows how to put their ego on a shelf.” At this time, Councilman Gary Strahan is the acting mayor with elections to come in early May. The Brooks Report reached to the other council members but only received one other comment from Councilman Chris Barnes. When asked whether he would run for the office of mayor, he said: “at this time, I have no interest in running for mayor Silsbee.” Barnes has faith in the other council members saying they are able electors. “I think that anyone of our Councilpersons is capable of becoming mayor of Silsbee and will do a great job,” he said. He echoes the thoughts of the petitioners, citing a concern for “bringing our community together and moving forward.” The filing deadline for election applications opens on Jan. 15 and ends on Feb. 14. Interested parties need to pick up an application at the Silsbee City Hall, 1220 Hwy 327 East, Silsbee. Elections will occur on May 2, 2020, with positions for Mayor and council members in District A, B, and At-Large on the ballot.