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Five Meridian city leaders investigated over meetings laws, information usage

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MERIDIAN, TX (KXXV) -

Five Meridian city officials are under investigation for either allegedly holding illegal meetings or misusing official information.

An offense report that Meridian Police Sgt. Curtis Rust filed on June 15 lists three city alderman, Meridian’s mayor and its city administrator.

The offense listed for Mayor Daniel Yguerabide, Alderman Ryan Nieuwenhuis, and Alderman Shawn Stauffer conspired to circumvent secret deliberations. The offense listed for Alderman Elizabeth Davis and City Administrator Marie Garland for misuse of official information.

The information in question, according to Sgt. Rust in his report, is an allegation of policy violations by Meridian’s former police chief Chris Blanton. Alderman Davis supposedly met with Officer Brian Wallace to discuss those accusations and whether Wallace would be interested in becoming interim police chief if Blanton lost his job.

Blanton resigned on June 26, but it’s Sgt. Rust who has the police department’s acting supervisor role.

Sgt. Rust’s report also says that Davis told Wallace she’d had discussions about city business with Mayor Yguerabide and Aldermen Nieuwenhuis and Stauffer. If such a meeting occurred, Sgt. Rust says it constitutes a quorum of the city council and would be a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Mayor Yguerabide and Sgt. Rust issued statements today about this situation.

Sgt. Rust said, “I was informed of a possible violation of the open meetings act. I have turned my findings over to the proper investigative authority. At this time, I have no further comment on any possible or open investigation.”

Mayor Yguerabide said, “I’m not aware of an investigation involving myself or any of the other councilmembers.”

The mayor said on July 25 that several city leaders are new to the job and are learning how things work. 

"A lot of it may not have been intentional," said Yguerabide. "I just think the government gets relaxed in the way they do things, and I think a lot of times if we start turning the wheel a little bit, we start taking care of business, we start paying attention to detail. I think we can avoid a lot of issues." 

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