Embattled Local Councilwoman Resigns

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TEMPLE (March 20, 2014) Temple Mayor Pro Tem Judy Morales announced Thursday morning she’s resigning from the city council.

Temple Mayor Pro Tem Judy Morales announced her resignation Thursday morning. (Photo by Nick Delgado)

Morales said during a news conference late Thursday morning she thinks her resignation is the best action for the entire community.

“Because this situation has caused dissension and division among the citizens of our community, I want to encourage all citizens to put aside their differences and work together as a community,” she said.

The council was scheduled to hold a public hearing Thursday evening on her fate after she was arrested and charged on March 11 with destruction/removal/alteration of public information, a class-B misdemeanor.

Temple Mayor Danny Dunn and Councilmembers Perry Cloud, Russell Schneider and Tim Davis called on Morales during an emergency meeting Monday afternoon to resign, but Morales declined, and instead requested the public hearing.

Dunn said that Morales had been untruthful and that the allegations against her made it hard for the council to do business.

Thursday's hearing has been canceled.

The charge stems from an investigation of allegations that Morales directed an employee at the publicly-funded Temple HELP Center, where she served as director until last fall, to delete emails and documents linked to use of county equipment and personnel for campaign purposes when she ran for city council in 2011.

Morales said Thursday she has made some mistakes and that she has apologized for them and said it wasn’t her “intent that this issue would cause such disruption and division within our city.”

“I would like to set the record straight on one issue,” she said, “I have never lied to anyone regarding this situation and I have never taken money belonging to the city council or any organization.”

Mari Paul, the now former HELP Center employee who filed the complaint that led to Morales’ arrest, is spearheading a petition drive seeking to recall the entire Temple City Council, including her former supervisor.

Morales, who was elected to the council in 2011, retired from the HELP Center in 2013.

She’s a Temple native and graduate of Temple High School who had worked as director of social services at the HELP Center since 1972, according to her online city council biography.

The HELP Center is a government organization that's run through Bell County Human Services to provide resources to area residents who are in need.