Longtime councilwoman praised during her last regular Port Arthur meeting

Published 12:40 am Thursday, May 11, 2023

Tears were shed at Port Arthur City Hall this week as Councilwoman Charlotte Moses attended her last city council meeting after serving for nearly eight years.

Moses was not eligible for re-election, as the City Charter says no councilmember can serve more than two consecutive three-year terms in the same office.

“Charlotte, I want to tell you that, as mayor, I appreciate your support,” said Mayor Thurman Bartie. “I appreciate your candidness. I appreciate your disagreements. You know, if you have two or three people thinking in a room, it doesn’t mean that you all have to think on the same level. It just means you have to have enough intelligence to work together. And this is what we’ve accomplished in the four years that I’ve been here.”

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Moses was first elected in November 2015. Prior to that, she served on the Economic Development Corporation board and spent 19 years working in human resources.

“The city has been a big part of my life all my life, and I’ve enjoyed this journey,” Moses said. “It’s just been an honor to serve, to help people.”

The former councilwoman said during her time on council, she studied all agendas, arrived prepared and would follow-up on what constituents would report.

“I can’t live off of anyone else’s knowledge,” she said. “I live off what I see and what I can speak from the heart — whether it’s right, wrong, indifferent. It could be my momma, and she knows. I speak what I think I’m supposed to and from the heart, and I’ve served that way in the last seven years serving on council. I take it very serious. They can check my track record as far as absenteeism. I don’t think I have missed three full days in the seven years of attending city council meetings.”

And that’s when tears began to form.

“When I got on council, there was no money for streets. When I got on council, there was no infrastructure. The citizens deserve better. So I’ve worked hard to see some of those things put into place,” she said. “We’re going forward, no matter what people think. We have money for infrastructure. We have money for streets. We deserve that. You deserve that. You shouldn’t settle for anything less.”

Councilman Thomas Kinlaw was the first to thank Moses for her service.

“I wrote some things on my ledger, and the first thing when we were in executive session, I said, ‘You better not get up there and cry,’” he said. “And what’s the first thing she did? She cried.”

He then called her strong-minded, a person of strong faith and very vocal. He said oftentimes the two would have discussions in meetings or executive sessions that didn’t go as planned.

“And the first thing the next morning she’s calling me saying, ‘I’m gonna call you because I’m not through with what I had to tell you last night,’” he said. “That’s Charlotte Moses. She cares for this community. She cares for Port Arthur. She’s a person that has strong faith, actions, and it’s going to be hard for me to not see her sitting to my right.”

Councilman Donald Frank Jr. reminisced on times prior to council, as the two have know each other for many years.

“Charlotte, you’re a wonderful person. You really, really are,” he said. “And you’re credit to this city, you’re a credit to your family, you’re credit to what Port Arthur is becoming. You have placed your fingerprint on Port Arthur with Charlotte’s Cupboard and all the things that you do.

“Don’t stop, Charlotte. Continue to do that and continue to be the part of our city that is the heartbeat. We love you and we appreciate you.”

Councilwoman Ingrid Holmes said it’s been a honor to serve with Moses.

“You are an amazing woman, highly respected by so many people in this community,” she said. “You have always been eloquent in what you said. You’ve always been truthful in what you said. You have truly represented everything that this city deserved. And you fought for so many things — not only in this city, but for women. And for that, I thank you. I appreciate you, and I love you, my sister.”

Councilman Kenneth Marks said Moses, alongside the mayor, have been one of the council’s leaders.

“You’ve taught us about the decorum that we’re supposed to carry on with every day,” he said. “And again, we’re going to miss you and we love you.”

City Manager Ron Burton said it’s been “an absolute pleasure” working with Moses.

“You are truly the embodiment of spirited women who care very deeply about this city, and it’s reflected in the employees and the charge we have been given in order to move the advancement of the city,” he said.

And City Attorney Val Tizeno pointed out Moses’ work in the church and community.

“Everybody here, we’re all from Port Arthur,” she said. “We all grew up here. But…everyone doesn’t participate in trying to make Port Arthur better. There are a lot of people who constantly have bad things to say and don’t want to get up and try. You have continuously fought for the citizens of Port Arthur. You have done it with great passion, and we know that you really care about the city.”

Holmes also served her last regular meeting Tuesday, as she did not run for re-election. She will be honored May 17 when newly elected councilmembers will take their place.