Thompson appointed mayor after Herring resigns

District 5 Councilman Cory Thompson was appointed mayor during an emergency meeting of the Devine City Council held on Friday, July 19, following Bill Herring’s sudden resignation from the position.
“Physically, I need to pass it on,” Herring said in an interview after the meeting, which he did not attend. “Cory will do a great job. He’s young and enthusiastic, and I wish him well.”

A District 5 resident will be appointed to fill Thompson’s vacated Council seat. Both that person and Thompson will hold their positions until the next General Election in May 2020, when both spots will be up for re-election.
The winners of those elections will then serve out the remaining year of the two-year terms that Herring and Thompson were re-elected to in May 2019, and the seats will be up for grabs again in May 2021 in order to keep to the two-year term cycle.
In a letter dated July 18, Herring informed Interim City Administrator Dora Rodriguez of his intent to resign effective August 1.
City Attorney Tom Cate explained during the July 19 meeting that according to State law, Herring’s resignation would become effective immediately once Council accepted it, or eight days after its submission if Council took no action.
“In view of the mayor submitting his resignation, everybody around here was just on pins and needles about how to react to that,” Cate said. “So that’s the reason we’ve called this [meeting]. Dora contacted me this morning and said we really need to do something because the resignation is having a negative effect on the day-to-day operations of the City.”
A motion by District 3 Councilman David Espinosa and Thompson to accept Herring’s resignation passed unanimously, with affirmative votes from District 1 Councilman David Valdez, District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez, and District 4 Councilwoman Jennifer Schott.
A Lopez-Espinosa motion to appoint someone to fill in as mayor rather than hold a Special Election also passed unanimously, leaving the question of who to appoint.
Schott asked Lopez, who is the Mayor Pro-Tem, if he wanted the job, and Lopez declined. Espinosa then nominated Thompson, and Lopez provided the second.
“My biggest concern is finding somebody in my district who will fill my seat that I feel that will honor the commitments I made, vote the same way I would vote,” Thompson said.
Thompson went on to say that if appointed mayor, he would try to keep Council meetings shorter and would not be at City Hall as frequently.
“Y’all have to be comfortable with me too,” Thompson said. “And City staff needs to be. I don’t have time to do what Bill did.”
“I’ll be your Mayor Pro-Tem, and I’ll help you in any way I can,” Lopez said.
Thompson thanked him, and added that when citizens approached him with concerns, he would direct them to their Council representative rather than taking a more active daily role as Herring did.
“We want you to,” Espinosa said.
“And that’s my job,” Rodriguez added. “That’s my job, in the position that I’m in. I deal with these people, and if they don’t like my decision, then that’s when they have the option to come to Council.”
The Espinosa-Lopez motion to appoint Thompson as mayor was still on the floor, and was unanimously approved. Thompson was then sworn into office by Cate.
Council then unanimously approved a Resolution to allow Thompson to transact business with banks on behalf of the City before the emergency meeting adjourned.

Bill Herring became mayor in 2010.

Herring took office as mayor in 2010.
“Bill Herring has represented the City of Devine as mayor for the past nine years with such dedication and professionalism,” said K.K. Calame, publisher of The Devine News. “As a retired school teacher, he used his communication and people skills to represent our community in a positive way by attending as many functions as he could, often bringing City staff with him. He took the time to listen to people’s concerns and always gave his best effort. He will definitely be missed, and his retirement is well-deserved.”
The next regular Council meeting is scheduled for August 20.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer