RED OAK - Mayor Ron Bryce resigned Wednesday morning, just one day after the Red Oak City Council voted to terminate the employment of City Manager Ken Pfeifer and City Attorney Betsy Elam.
“I respectfully submit my resignation as mayor of Red Oak. Working for the citizens of Red Oak has been one of the highest honors of my life. But I have no hope of being an effective leader for the remainder of my term in office. I do however want to continue serving the community wherever possible as a private citizen,” Bryce wrote in an e-mail addressed to City Secretary Judy Grant and members of the city council. “Thanks to the city council members and the entire city staff. But most of all I want to thank the people of Red Oak who entrusted me as their mayor for this period of time. My heart’s desire continues to be for the people and families that make up our community. May God richly bless you.”
“I appreciate Mayor Bryce’s dedication and service to this city. He put his heart, mind and soul into this job, and to doing what he believed was right for the city,” councilman Casey Hargrove said. “Politics makes strange bedfellows and even stranger adversaries, and even though I and the Mayor did not see eye to eye on some key issues, I consider Ron a friend and a brother in Christ. I want to thank him and his family for their service to the city of Red Oak.”
“I was really surprised. I guess disappointed. I was looking forward to serving under his leadership and I wish him the best,” said newly elected councilman Andy Bell. “At this point we’ve just got to press forward and try to make the best of the situation.”
Mayor Pro Tem Ben Goodwyn said Bryce had alienated himself from three of the five councilmen in part by funding the campaigns of candidates running against Goodwyn and Hargrove.
“I think we’ve already got leadership back in the city. We’ve got directors with at least a couple of years of experience. Todd Fuller’s been acting assistant, doing a great deal of work for the city for years. I’ve been mayor pro tem for a year. I’ve been a city councilman for three years. Four of our five councilmen have at least three years in experience,” Goodwyn said. “The very idea that we don’t have leadership is idiotic.”
The Red Oak City Council had called an emergency meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday to consider approving the appointment of an interim city manager and to consider accepting the resignation of Mayor Ron Bryce. However, the meeting was canceled due to questions of whether the items qualified as emergency situations.
A special meeting has been scheduled for Monday with the same two items on the agenda.
Goodwyn listed a variety of topics the council will immediately address.
“The main thing is to establish our priorities. The No. 1 thing is where we are. We don’t have a clue where we are on our budgets. We could never get a straight answer from (Pfeifer). We don’t know where we are on our projects,” Goodwyn said. “We are going to establish what we are going to do as a council, including development of our new budgets, funding some areas that have been cut to the bone, like National Night Out, and we’ve also got to hire a lawyer, very quickly. We should have that done by the meeting in July, and we’re establishing a committee in order to hire a new city manager.”
The council will also discuss the ongoing process to hire a new police chief.
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