As Cedar Park Turns

Posted in Williamson County at 2:34 pm by wcnews

A couple of weeks ago Cedar Park City Council Member Stephen Berry resigned. The AAS had a pretty mundane article about the resignation and reported that nobody knew why it happened. They did mention that Berry raised concerns in March about possible violations of the open meetings act, which in Cedar Park these days raises a red flag. If you’ll recall, Cedar Park got in trouble for open meetings violations back in 2004.

The HCN also had a story on this that added some information to the tale:

Berry got elected for his first term in May 2006. Berry, usually one of the less-talkative members, stunned the council at a March 22 meeting when he made a motion to have City Attorney Charles Rowland fired. That happened after Berry made a motion for the council to show a vote of “no confidence” in Rowland. Both motions died when neither received a second.

Berry accused Rowland of violating the Texas Open Meeting Act and allowing the council to participate in illegal executive sessions during council meetings.

After the meeting, then Mayor Pro-tem Cobby Caputo said job performances are typically discussed in executive session and the legislation built that into the laws. An employee can be evaluated in public only if he chooses.

“I know Mr. Berry doesn’t like Mr. Rowland,” Caputo said. “There are some significant factors, not the least as to who he’s dating. I was unaware he intended to do something like that [last week].

“It may be different if he wasn’t dating someone in the city attorney’s office. I’m pretty uncomfortable with where the situation has gone.”

The city has no rules regarding a council member dating a city staff member.

That’s just great. Putting 2 and 2 together it appears that a city council member goes after a member of the city attorney’s office that works with his girlfriend. By raising concerns of violations of the open meetings act and trying to oust him. This is only speculation but Mr. Berry’s silence isn’t helping his cause.

Today the AAS is reporting that WCDA Bradley decided not to purse this any further, District attorney won’t prosecute Cedar Park officials. It appears that the investigation has concluded, with the WCDA and the city officials working together, they have ironed out any issues that may have existed with open meetings violations. That’s the important part after all.

Cedar Park City Attorney Charles Rowland acknowledged that some of those examples were insufficient, Bradley said. He also said that some did not give enough information about what was being discussed in the session.

After *Antle and former Council Member Stephen Berry, who resigned July 6, spoke up in March, Rowland said, he began revamping agendas to make them clearer, at the direction of the council.

The city has since done a good job of posting notice on executive session items, Bradley said.

Antle said he does not plan to raise other concerns at this time.

“If the city attorney and City Council are moving toward improvement, then it’s all good with me,” Antle said. “We’ll just see how they do.”

(*) That’s former council member Bob Antle who was part of the 2004 violation.

Hopefully this is a satisfactory solution for all the concerned, those on the council, the county, but more importantly the citizens/tax payers of Cedar Park.


  1. tweety said,

    July 18, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Does it really suprise us that DA Bradley is not going to do anything? Bradley has a long list of NOT prosecuting those in “official capacity” . For a long time now, like the others, Bradley has not been doing his job as he swore he would do. It’s time to replace him too!

  2. pj said,

    July 18, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Apparently this is not the first time a “new” council member has been made to feel completely unwelcome and then resigns from the council because he’s not buying into the status quo — ie. shady practices.

  3. wcnews said,

    July 18, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    No surprise Bradly didn’t do anything, you’re right. These kind of things only really get resolved by the public keeping elected officials accountable.

    Yes, CP has had problems with early resignations in the past.

    More growing pains. WC and many of the cities in WC are having problems playing by the rules, so to speak, as they grow and get more under the microscope.

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