Bee Cave officials initiate investigation into Council Member Bill Goodwin

Bee Cave City Council met virtually on May 18 for a special meeting. (Screenshot courtesy city of Bee Cave)
Bee Cave City Council met virtually on May 18 for a special meeting. (Screenshot courtesy city of Bee Cave)

Bee Cave City Council met virtually on May 18 for a special meeting. (Screenshot courtesy city of Bee Cave)

After a roughly 70-minute discussion that was at times contentious, Bee Cave City Council voted 5-1 to initiate proceedings that will likely result in an investigation into City Council Member Bill Goodwin.

The motion during the May 18 special called meeting authorized City Manager Clint Garza to seek outside counsel, in this case Austin firm Almanza, Blackburn, Dickie & Mitchell, LLP, and then submit a proposal to council on the scope of an investigation into whether Goodwin’s actions violated Bee Cave’s Home Rule City Charter.

Goodwin, who has served on council for 15 years, was the lone “no” vote on the dais and came out swinging from the beginning of the discussion.

"I am really feeling like this is just a vicious, vindictive political takedown," Goodwin said, adding it is also noteworthy that council scheduled the meeting for 4 p.m. on a Monday, a time when most people are working. "I am not going to lie down for this. You all are on notice that you better have a lot of faith in your city attorney."

Despite the assertion the scheduled meeting took place at an inopportune time, more than 60 people called into or signed onto the virtual meeting.

Several issues pertaining to the investigation were discussed at length, including the optics of an investigation underwritten by taxpayers at a time when so many in the local economy are affected by the pandemic, as well as whether actions taken by an official could be investigated if that official is now serving a new term of office.

Despite several Bee Cave residents calling in to voice their opposition on an investigation into Goodwin, Council Member Jon Cobb and other council members stated they have been put in a position in which they have no choice but to investigate—that it is warranted and required because of a March 28 statement made by Goodwin during a public meeting in which he seemingly acknowledged he violated the spirit of the city charter through an email he sent to Garza on March 21.

That email insisted council members and staff attend a March 24 City Council meeting in person and was seen by many who read it as a dangerous request amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

"I would like all members of staff that have business on the agenda to be in physical attendance, and urge you to tell them that I expect that of them," Goodwin's email stated. "Feel free to remind them that they are under your supervision and that I have no authority to require anything of them, that I am cognizant of that and nonetheless want them there."

Council Member Andrew Clark, who created the May 18 agenda item calling for an initiation of the investigation, invoked several sections of the city charter that allow for officials to determine if a council member has levied conduct that qualifies them for forfeiture of office.

One specific section within the city charter states “No Member of the Council, including the Mayor, shall give orders to any subordinate of the City Manager, either publicly or privately.”

Goodwin said during a heated exchange that his email essentially exonerates him because the verbiage within it shows he was aware he has no authority to require anything of city staff members.

Prior to Bee Cave City Council's May 12 regular meeting, at which Goodwin was sworn into office for his new two-year term, Goodwin was still undecided as to whether he would return to the office he resigned from in early April. That resignation came following the aforementioned assertions of Goodwin’s misconduct.

Regarding the new two-year council term beginning in May, Goodwin had already received the position in February because no one applied to run against him, and that appointment is not connected to his resignation from his previous term. Goodwin had also resigned as mayor March 28 for the same misconduct accusations.

Goodwin became mayor in December following the resignation of former Mayor Monty Parker, who left his position to pursue a professional opportunity closer to San Antonio. Once Goodwin resigned as mayor in March, then-Council Member Kara King took over as mayor prior to being officially sworn in May 12.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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