Mayor Anna Lopez Machacek cast the deciding vote to hire the Austin law firm of Knight & Partners to "mentor" City Attorney Ashford Taylor. New councilman Joey Thompson and councilwoman Liz Holsey also voted for acquiring the services of the law firm while councilmen Buddy Zavesky and Lionel Garcia opposed the motion made by Holsey and seconded by Thompson. New councilwoman Cheryl Worley abstained from voting on the item, allowing Machacek to cast the deciding vote.
Both Machacek and Thompson would not comment when asked who had recommended the services of Knight & Partners.
"I'm done for the night," Machacek said.
"I will comment, I'm just not comfortable enough right now," Thompson said.
Attorney Barney Knight offered his law firm's services to the city during a special city council meeting June 9 called by Machacek. Knight said his firm could serve as full legal counsel for the city or assist Taylor. City council took no action at the special meeting. Machacek put the item on the agenda again Tuesday night.
Former mayor Worley regretted not voting on the item.
"I'm beside myself right now," Worley said. "I always said when I was mayor that you need to vote and you need to pick a side."
Worley said she would have liked to table the item to get more feedback from Taylor.
Holsey insisted that she doesn't want to replace Taylor.
"We don't want to replace him," Holsey said. "His heart's here. We need to talk to him, but we're not replacing him."
Goliad attorney Steve Paulsgrove, who has served a county judge and county attorney, spoke to the council Tuesday night and offered to serve as a mentor to Taylor, who is employed in Paulsgrove's law firm.
"It was never up to us to approve Mr. Paulsgrove," Holsey said. "That was never brought up."
Holsey was against tabling the item to consider hiring Paulsgrove to assist Taylor.
"I think that's getting to be a habit that we table and bring it to the next meeting," Holsey said. "You can't continue to do business that way."
More on this story coming to mySouTex.com.