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Granite Shoals mayor investigation findings to be released after election

Granite Shoals Mayor Aaron Garcia

Granite Shoals Mayor Aaron Garcia challenges allegations that he violated the city charter. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The subcommittee investigating Granite Shoals Mayor Aaron Garcia for alleged city charter violations will not release its findings to the public until after the May 6 election. Garcia addressed the allegations in the investigation, which is ongoing, while several members of the public spoke in favor of the mayor and admonished officials during the City Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, April 25.

A subcommittee consisting of councilors Kevin Flack, Steve Hougen, and Michael Berg was formed on March 28 to investigate three complaints against Garcia for alleged violations of the city charter. The subcommittee has been conducting interviews with involved parties but failed to gather the necessary information to conclude its investigation prior to Tuesday night’s meeting, Flack and Berg explained. 

They also said they wanted to conduct more interviews and present their findings to the newly formed council on May 23. Five of the council’s seven seats, including mayor, are on the May 6 ballot. Garcia is not running for re-election.

“(The subcommittee’s) goal was to have at least two of the three complaints addressed tonight,” Flack told the council. “We had a problem with scheduling an interview and couldn’t get it done before Dr. (Steve) Hougen went on vacation.” 

Flack explained that scheduling the interviews was difficult because, if all three members of the committee were to meet and interview Garcia at once, it would constitute a council quorum and require a 72-hour public notice beforehand. The subcommittee plans to hold its final interviews from May 10-19. 

“It’s been a struggle with the schedules,” Berg told after the meeting. “You have to at least talk to both sides.”

The three charter complaints were filed by Suzanne Ort, wife of Councilor Phil Ort, on March 16. The complaints allege that Garcia told City Manager Peggy Smith to fire the city’s contracted building inspector, Mike Light; that he formed official city committees without proper procedure; and that he botched the search for a city manager with executive recruitment firm Strategic Government Resources. Garcia addressed these complaints during the April 11 regular meeting

Several members of the public spoke at the beginning of the meeting in support of Garcia and condemning the complaints against him.

Shirley King, a former city councilor and member of the parks committee, reiterated her belief that the allegations from Ort were in retaliation for Garcia arresting her husband in December 2021 on a charge of criminal mischief. Ort faces a felony charge for allegedly keying a car in the Marble Falls H-E-B parking lot. Garcia is a sergeant for the Marble Falls Police Department.

Suzanne Ort denied she filed her complaint in retaliation. 

“I can see how some people might come to that conclusion, but that is so completely far from the truth,” she told She added that she and her husband campaigned for Garcia in his bid for Place 2 on the council when he ran in 2022, which was after the arrest.

Others defended Garcia’s character, including Marble Falls City Councilor Reed Norman, Christ Redeemer Fellowship Pastor Mike Mitchell, and Granite Shoals residents Robin Deberard and Lisa Crane.

“Our Marble Falls Police Department has a very good program, and we love that man,” Norman told the council. “You’ve got a great city, you’ve got a great future, but this bickering has got to stop.”