In a 6-0 vote, Mineral Wells City Council on Tuesday evening issued a reprimand to Mayor Christopher Perricone after an independent investigator found three of 13 identified complaints against the mayor violated the city's charter.
Council's action brings to end complaints filed by City Clerk Peggy Clifton alleging the mayor violated the city charter in his actions and dealings with city department heads, managers and subordinates.
The investigation conducted by Arlington attorney James T. Jeffrey Jr. found in 10 of the complaints the charges were either not sustained by the facts he gathered, and he exonerated the mayor of wrongdoing in one of the charges.
Perricone recused himself from voting and participating in the discussion and presentation by Jeffrey.
While a consensus of council moved toward an unwillingness to proceed with a hearing to remove Perricone from office based on the sustained complaints, City Manager Randy Criswell stated, “There are still three incidents where the charter was violated. No violation of the charter is ever acceptable.”
The complaints centered on whether Perricone violated Article 3, Section 28 of the city charter by allegedly overstepping his bounds and separations as an elected official dealing with certain city employees in a city manager-council government structure.
The sustained violations occurred before Criswell became city manager in May, and two previous city managers, Lance Howerton and interim Margie Rose, allowed council members direct contact with department heads before Rose subsequently changed the policy.
City Attorney Andy Messer said while the charter did not provide for censuring an elected official, he said it is allowed under common law practice and gave council that option.
“It has no further consequences other than a reprimand,” Messer said.
Several council members admonished Perricone for his demeanor and approach in dealing with fellow council members, city employees, the public and how public meetings often conducted. Perricone afterward was unapologetic.
“I am always going to continue my goal to seek truth and transparency,” Perricone stated. “My goal is still the same.”
Perricone said one of the sustained violations involved an open records request made by the Mineral Wells Index in 2018 concerning the mayor's claims regarding issuance of a certificate of occupancy for his residence in which he interceded.
The Index will have more on this story Wednesday. Watch the video of the meeting here.