McKinney City Council member La’Shadion Shemwell, who filed the lawsuit, said he decided to focus instead on serving the city while it handles issues related to the coronavirus outbreak, Shemwell’s attorney Shayan Elahi said in an email.
“The country is in a state of emergency,” Elahi said in the email. “Councilman Shemwell needs to focus on the city and not on the case, and he does not want any more of city resources spent on this matter.”
Shemwell filed the lawsuit Jan. 20, the day before McKinney City Council voted to place a measure on the May 2 ballot that could potentially remove him from elective office through recall.
His suit sought to halt the recall process, declare portions of the McKinney City Charter unconstitutional and award unspecified monetary damages and attorney’s fees to Shemwell, according to court documents.
The upcoming special election was triggered by a recall petition signed by more than 3,000 registered McKinney voters—nearly 1,000 more than were needed to trigger the recall process. As mandated by the city charter, following the petition, the city had no choice but to send the recall question to voters.
Shemwell, who was elected in 2017, said he believes the city charter is unconstitutional because it dilutes the votes of District 1 residents by allowing the entire city to vote on his possible recall. Only District 1 voters are able to cast ballots to put him in office.
Even though the case was dismissed March 13, it can be refiled at any time, according to Elahi.
“Nothing has changed,” Elahi said. “The city has violated the constitution and will have to amend the charter again at some point.”
The charter, which spells out how the city operates, was last amended in May 2019. Any changes to the city charter would require approval from voters. But they would first have go to through City Council.
If at least two city council members decide to discuss a change to the charter, a time to do so would be scheduled, according to Mark Houser, the city’s attorney.
At this time, a recall election is still expected to take place May 2.
“Residents of McKinney amended the city charter, and residents of McKinney will decide in May whether Mr Shemwell should remain in office,” McKinney Mayor George Fuller said in an email. “This is the democratic process at work.”