By Kathi Bliss
The City of Lockhart announced on Tuesday afternoon that District 4 Councilmember Richard Banks tendered his resignation on Tuesday morning.
According to City Manager Vance Rodgers, Banks did not offer a reason for his resignation, but simply visited City Hall on Monday to return some informational materials and tender his resignation, which he said would be effective immediately.
Mayor Lew White, who reportedly accepted Banks’ resignation, declined to comment.
Under the City Charter, it is not necessary for the remaining councilmembers to call a special election to fill the now-vacant District 4 seat, because Banks resigned within 120 days prior to the already-scheduled November General Election. However, it is unclear whether the Council can, or will, temporarily appoint an interim councilmember to fill the seat until November.
In recent weeks, Banks drew criticism, both in council chambers and in online communities, for displaying a sign in support of a grassroots organization dedicated to stopping the 130 Environmental Park Development. When asked by White to remove the sign, Banks, who is an ardent opponent of the landfill development, refused to do so, citing his First Amendment right to display the sign at the council dais. During the same meeting, Banks locked horns with White, who declined to add a resolution opposing the landfill development to the council’s agenda. Though Banks insisted the community should know where their elected officials stand on the project, White asserted any discussion of such a resolution is as yet premature.
Banks was visibly rattled by White’s response to his request, and has not attended a regular council meeting since.
The Lockhart City Council has a special-called meeting to discuss budget issues on Thursday, July 10. However, discussion of Banks’ resignation could not be added to that agenda because it was received too late to legally amend the posted agenda. The Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled on Tuesday, July 15.
Pick up next week’s Post-Register, or watch us online at www.post-register.com, for information on this story as it develops.