Castle Hills Mayor Bruce Smiley-Kaliff resigns

Resignation came after bid to fire city manager; Smiley-Kaliff cites discord with newly elected council members

The City of Castle Hills is looking for a new mayor after the sudden resignation of Mayor Bruce Smiley-Kaliff following a contentious City Council meeting Monday night.

At that meeting, the agenda included an item regarding the job performance of City Manager Rita Hoyl. One councilmember made a motion to terminate the 20-year employee's job.

Hoyl responded in tears, saying she had enjoyed her time serving the city.

"My working relationship with the department heads has been both positive and rewarding," Hoyl said at the meeting.

Later, Smiley-Kaliff, a supporter of Hoyl, resigned.

"Effective tonight at midnight, I am resigning as mayor of the city of Castle Hills," Smiley-Kaliff said at the meeting.

The chaos has caught many people off guard in the small city, which the mayor boasts as the new corporate headquarters of Pape Dawson and a city with money in the bank.

"In the last two years, there's been 90 new businesses (that have moved) to the city of Castle Hills," Smiley-Kaliff said.

But he said he saw the handwriting on the wall.

"I was not going to be able to lead that council in the best interest of the city," Smiley-Kaliff said. "It became very apparent last night (that) I was going to be the lightning rod for distraction. I was under as much fire as the city manager."

Smiley-Kaliff said the bid to oust Hoyl came when Leslie Wenger and Douglas Gregory defeated two incumbent City Council members last month.

"I applaud their ability to campaign," Smiley-Kaliff said. "I am not real pleased or optimistic about their ability to govern. This is not the Castle Hills that I was elected to lead. I don't think this is the majority of the citizens of Castle Hills."

But Wenger said she heard while campaigning that things aren't right at City Hall. She said people she talked to complained that they did not get the services they needed.

"What we were hearing was a lot of complaints about the city manager and the way that people felt they were being treated unfairly," Wenger said. "I guess if I had to pick the predominant one, it was the fact that they didn't feel they were being listened to."

She said it was not her idea to fire the city manager.

"It's not so much what I think, it's what the people think," Wenger said. "Because that's who I need to be responsive to. If you're going to run for office and you tell people that you're going to listen to them, that's what they expect."

Hoyl got a four-month extension and her fate will be considered again in October.

The Castle Hills City Council can now appoint someone to fill out the mayor's term or hold an election to fill the slot.

For a list of recent stories Brian Mylar has done, click here.

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