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Ron Munos was sworn in as mayor of Granite Shoals by City Secretary Dawn Wright after the City Council officially accepted Kiel Arnone’s resignation on Oct. 10. Munos told a packed council chamber that he would work hard to unify the city during these divisive times. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
The council officially accepted the two mens’ resignations after hearing from residents who attended the meeting and Arnone. Flack did not attend. Both issued statements before the meeting indicating they were resigning due to the council’s decision to put City Manager Peggy Smith on a personal improvement plan rather than fire her over alleged financial mismanagement.
After he was sworn in by City Secretary Dawn Wright, Munos made a statement to a packed council chamber. At the height of the meeting’s attendance, roughly 60 people were in the audience while about 60 more watched virtually via Zoom. Many voiced their support for Arnone and a desire to see the city heal, including Munos.
“We are a divided city at this point — so is Texas, so is the country, so is the world,” Munos said. “There is little I can do for the state, nation, or world, but I will do the best of my ability to unite this city.”
The current divisiveness stems from the fight over Smith’s handling of city finances since she became interim city manager in June 2022 and city manager in 2023. As assistant city manager, Smith was paid $103,000 a year. When she became interim city manager, a job she held for eight months before being hired as city manager, she was paid $140,000 a year. Her salary as city manager is $150,009.60 a year.
The other five members of the council, Munos, Judy Salvaggio, Steve Hougen, Michael Berg, and Phil Ort, proposed a personal improvement plan for Smith rather than termination. Arnone was the sole vote against the plan; Flack abstained.
Flack was absent Tuesday, but Arnone called the meeting to order and handled the public comment part of the meeting. He then made a statement before departing council chambers, comparing the city’s current state to that of a structure fire. Arnone was a volunteer firefighter for years, he said in prefacing his remarks.
“Our city is experiencing a three-alarm fire,” he said. “Flames are shooting through the roof, and it will burn to the ground if our elected and paid leadership won’t set egos aside and make important choices that can result in salvaging what is left, allowing for an opportunity to rebuild.”
Arnone also announced his intention to sell his home and leave Granite Shoals.
“My house went on the market the second I realized the council members thought (Smith’s financial mismanagement) was no big deal,” Arnone told DailyTrib.com after the meeting.
Munos will be the city’s fifth mayor in two years. No Granite Shoals mayor has completed the position’s two-year term since 2021:
Carl Brugger resigned from the position in October 2021 amid a recall election that stemmed from a $35,000 pay increase approved for then-City Manager Jeff Looney.
Will Skinner resigned suddenly from the job in October 2022 after announcing he was moving out of Granite Shoals and would no longer be eligible to serve.
Aaron Garcia, who was mayor pro-tem at the time, replaced Skinner but chose to not run for re-election in May 2022 after he was criticized for his handling of the city manager search to replace Looney.
Arnone was elected mayor in May 2022 but only served for four months before resigning on Tuesday, again, a decision that came about due to conflict over the city manager position.
Munos is the most senior member of the council, having served two full terms in his former Place 1 seat. He won re-election in May but will now serve out the remaining term of mayor, which ends in May 2025.
The city is currently accepting applications from Granite Shoals residents to fill council seats for Places 1 and 2. Applications can be found on the city’s website and must be submitted to City Secretary Dawn Wright by noon on Oct. 20 to be considered. Submit applications in person between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at City Hall, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The remaining five members of the council plan to review applications and make appointments through anonymous voting during the next regular meeting on Oct. 24. The council will also select a new mayor pro-tem to replace Munos.