Reno City Council appointed and swore in Morris Pruitt to replace council member Granville G. “Randy” Martin III during the meeting on Monday evening at Reno City Hall.
The motion to appoint Pruitt passed in a 3-1 vote. Council members Joe R. Patterson, Harry Harris and Kerry Jenkins voted in favor, and council member Hernando Herrera voted against the motion. Martin did not vote for or against the motion.
Some on the council claimed that Martin moved his residence outside city limits, though Martin denied that he had moved his residence.
According to an article in The Azle News, Martin owns property in Reno as well as in Briar but claims his residence is in Reno.
Martin was sworn in as a council member in May and had previously been mayor of Reno.
During the meeting, Martin made a motion to table the agenda item to give the council time to review evidence and investigate, but that motion failed. Two other motions to nominate appointees also failed during the meeting before Pruitt was selected.
After the meeting, Martin said he feels like his rights have been violated.
“I feel like that my civil and constitutional rights have been violated,” Martin said. “I feel like our local government has failed us. Our government has failed us. As citizens and people that live in the United States, we are a country of laws. We’re not a country of who decides what just by what someone says.”
Martin said he is consulting with his attorney on the next steps to take on this matter.
Mayor Eric Hunter said the item was brought up after Martin was confronted about moving his residence, and Hunter claimed Martin said that he didn’t care and council couldn’t do anything about it.
“I would say that when you are presented with a statement like that ‘we know you moved,’ if it’s not true, then the first thing you say is, ‘But, I haven’t,’ not, ‘I don’t care,’” Hunter said.
Hunter also said if Martin had been more upfront with him on this issue, he would have worked with Martin to allow him to serve as a holdover on council.
Martin claimed that what he said was taken out of context.
“[City Administrator Scott Passmore] said they’re thinking that you moved. Well I don’t care what they think,” Martin said. “Thinking is one thing, I believe that I can think this, I can think that, but then you heard the mayor, he misconstrued it up there three different times himself, just in his normal conversation.”
Pruitt said he has run for mayor and council before. He said he had been unfamiliar with the situation concerning Martin but said if Martin is living outside of city limits, then he should vacate his seat.
Before the meeting started, a group of Martin’s supporters rallied together outside city hall. Reno resident Patti Swift said that the group didn’t want Martin to get removed from council, and she said Martin does live in Reno.
“I voted him in, I trust him,” Swift said. “I didn’t vote for Hunter, I didn’t vote for any of the other ones because you can’t trust them.”