'Combative, unprofessional:' Hearne city attorney slams council in resignation letter

Published: Dec. 28, 2016 at 10:38 PM CST
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The city attorney for Hearne ended his tenure Wednesday, resigning after six months. In doing so, he took shots at the city council for its action or lack thereof.

George Hyde of the Denton, Navarro, Rocha, Bernal, Hyde & Zech law firm was hired in June to replace Bryan Russ. Wednesday, he sent a letter to the city.

Hyde has served as a city attorney for multiple Texas communities. His firm specializes in municipal matters.

In taking the Hearne assignment, Hyde said, "We did so with the intent to provide legal direction to facilitate compromise and help the Council set aside their individual differences and personal agendas in order to act in the best interest of the community."

However, Hyde said he and his firm were "not effective in reducing the combative, unprofessional and inconsistent treatment of city issues," nor could they put a halt to personal attacks at meetings, or spawn compromises. Hyde said information on the rule of law was disputed or ignored.

"(I)t does not appear that continuing our attempts to provide legal support and direction will be effective to tip the routine stalemate votes that prevent progress and take the city nowhere," Hyde wrote.

He said continuing with Hearne would be "incompatible" with his firm's mission.

Hyde said he would be willing to discuss the firm's return to serve as counsel for the city if "this or a new City Council can find a means to come together and act in the best interest of the community and serve the citizens' needs."

Wednesday evening, Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez told News 3 he hadn't read the resignation letter yet because he had been at work. When this reporter relayed some of the items in the letter, Gomez said some members of the city council had not treated the law firm with the respect it deserved.

Mayor Gomez says the council will begin addressing the lack of legal representation at Tuesday's city council meeting.