Phelps staying put as Bangs mayor despite health issues

New Police Chief Robert Garcia introduced at city council meeting

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
New Bangs Police Chief Robert Garcia is pictured with his wife, Lorin, at Monday night's city council meeting. Mayor Rick Phelps is pictured behind them.
Bangs Police Chief Robert Garcia glances toward his wife, Lorin, will speaking to city council members Monday night.

BANGS — Bangs Mayor Rick Phelps told city council members Monday night he won't resign from office after being diagnosed earlier with a stroke and multiple sclerosis.

Phelps added a caveat: he won't resign unless his health issues leave him physically incapable of serving as mayor.

Phelps, an Army veteran, former news media employee and a previous city council member — took office in May at age 45.

"A lot of people in here were praying for me, which I appreciate," Phelps said. "I've lost most of the motion with the left side of my body." Phelps went on to way he'd had a stroke and also been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"A few people have called and just been direct with me and asked me 'are you going to resign as mayor?'" Phelps said. "The answer is, no, I'm not going to resign. I'm very happy with what we've done since May. What I will do, if I physically cannot handle the demands of this job, that would be unfair to the community, and if it were to get to that point, then I would resign.

"But for right now, it's not happening."

Phelps went on to preside over a lengthy council agenda, which included introducing the city's new police chief, Robert Garcia.

"I would like to start by giving glory and praise to God for allowing me to have this opportunity," Garcia, who was accompanied by his wife, Lorin, told council members. Garcia thanked his wife "for sticking with me through my law enforcement career, moving having to deal with me being gone for lots of amounts of hours, and holidays.

"I want to thank the council for giving me the opportunity to serve the community of Bangs."

Garcia, who is the only officer on the police department's three-person force, said he has received applications from two individuals who are interested in become police officers in Bangs, including one who wants to serve as a reserve officer.

Garcia also said he is going to retire the police department's manual on policies and procedures because the manual is old. He said he will create a new manual which will be submitted to City Attorney Mark Bessent and presented to the council.