The Bedford City Council is short one member after a councilwoman resigned on April 26. Cindy Almendarez resigned with more than a year left on her three-year term after admitting to violating the a city charter.
Councilwoman Almendarez emailed her resignation letter to Mayor Michael Boyter, City Manager Jimmy Stathatos, and other council members, explaining that she directed members of the Bedford Police Department during an unauthorized car club event at Pennington Field on April 8. According to her, residents had been concerned about the event, and she wanted to help.
The city’s charter prohibits the council or any member from giving orders to any subordinates of the city manager, including the police department. All elected officers are required to work only through the city manager. Violation of the charter could result in the removal of the violator.
According to Mayor Boyter, the city manager was in town and available at the time of the incident.
Almendarez also posted her resignation letter on Facebook, saying that she did not intend to overstep or “break policy in any way or form.” She continued, “I wanted to be of assistance to our community and our first responders during this mayhem.”
Mayor Boyter said that Almendarez’s interference, regardless of her intentions, is dangerous as it limits the police’s ability to do their job.
Councilwoman Almendarez further said that her oversight was “taken out of context and blown out of proportion.” She said that the City Council should “reevaluate” their “thoughts and feelings to stay ahead of problems that have dangerously inundated our city and other cities as well.”
While Almendarez promises to accept responsibility for her error, she believes she should not be the only one to blame in this matter. “Blame should first be placed on those who were derelict in their duty to enforce the peace,” she said in her letter.
The city is expected to call for a special election to replace Almendarez. Announcements regarding the special election could be made at the next council meeting scheduled for May 10.