Patton Village residents speak out against city leaders

March 4, 2012 8:20:33 PM PST
Residents of Patton Village called a meeting Sunday to vent their frustrations in the wake of a scandal that has rocked their small town for more than a week.

Many of Patton Village's 1,500 residents say they are being kept out of the loop when it comes to the charges some of their city officials are facing.

Several Patton Village city officials, including the mayor, were arrested February 24 after being indicted by a Montgomery County Grand Jury.

The criminal investigation started October 7 and involved several agencies, including the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, the FBI, and the Texas Rangers.

The list of city officials charged includes Mayor Pamela Munoz, former City Secretary Georgia Simons, Court Clerk Paricia Edmonson, two former police officers and two current police officers. All are accused of using their public positions for personal gain.

City council held a called a special meeting the day after the arrests, but several residents walked out of chambers once they learned it wasn't an open forum.

Citizens' anger over this public corruption scandal inspired them to call their own meeting Sunday afternoon to discuss how they can bring about change in their town.

Tempers flared at the meeting as neighbors said "enough is enough."

"She does what she wants when she wants," one resident said about the mayor.

Petitions were on the table to recall many of the town's elected officials, whether they were indicted or not.

"I hope if there's anything that's been going on illegally, that they process them to the full extent of the law. We need responsibility and accountability in this city," a resident said.

According to the indictment, Munoz misused city money. The city's police officers who were arrested are accused of running illegal background checks.

"It's sad we have to be drug through this. I don't approve of what's happened, but I'd like to move forward with this city," Councilmember Teresa White said.

Some longtime residents say it's not the first time they've seen problems here.

"The Mayor wasn't too good. We impeached him, but we had a good city council and things was doing good and looking up, and then over the years I've seen it slide downhill," Elaine Norton, a former councilmember, said.

While the small village may once again be in the middle of some big problems, they seem determined to overcome.

"There's a lot of brother-in-law stuff going on in here. If you know the mayor, you get things patted on the back. All this needs to stop," resident Randy Lefevre said. "We are a community. I'm very happy to live here and I want to support this community."

The mayor is out of jail on bond and is back at work until her court date. In all, she faces 10 charges -- nine felonies and one misdemeanor -- on allegations she misused tens of thousands of dollars worth of public funds and property.

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