Little River-Academy Mayor Ronnie White resigned Thursday night as municipal judge and quit as mayor during Thursday night’s City Council meeting.
White has held both positions for 29 years, he said.
Named as interim mayor was Councilman Drew Lanham, Lanham said.
“Ronnie’s did a lot of good things while he was mayor,” Lanham said.
White said he resigned as judge at the meeting’s beginning, but Lanham said they removed White.
“I didn’t want to mess with them anymore. The Council voted to take away my salary as mayor. I was supposed to keep being paid as mayor until the end of the term, but they voted to not pay me,” White said.
“My daddy always told me if you play in doo-doo, you’ll get it on you. He was right,” White said.
White was under investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct after Police Chief Frankie Poole filed several complaints against him.
However, White said he talked to the Commission on Thursday and told them he was resigning. He said the Commission told him the investigation ends once he faxes the paperwork to them today.
He is proud of the 29 years he served as judge, White said. He said only two jury trials were held in that time.
“We always sat down and worked things out,” he said.
Seana Willing, executive director of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, previously said she couldn’t confirm or deny an investigation and couldn’t comment until there was a ruling.
The Little River-Academy City Council’s Thursday agenda listed executive sessions to consider city ordinances and compensation regarding the municipal judge position.
The Telegram reported in October 2014 that under Texas’ dual office holding provisions, it is illegal to hold two non-exempt compensated public offices. The Texas Constitution makes exceptions for justices of the peace, county commissioners, notaries, postmasters and military officers by allowing them to hold multiple public offices.
Fire department contribution
The Council also was scheduled to consider withholding the quarterly contribution from the Little River-Academy Volunteer Fire Department.
White said Thursday night’s vote was a tie, but he voted to give the department its money because it does a great job and deserves it.
The city provides $6,000 per year for the fire department and divides it up quarterly. Some Council members wanted to vote during the May meeting to withhold the quarterly distribution until the department turns in its bookkeeping records for inspection.
The Council wants to know what the department spends money on before it gives them more, White previously said.
When it was determined a vote would be inappropriate in May since the issue wasn’t on the agenda, it was agreed to put the item on the June agenda.