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A North Texas mayor admits he triggered an “automatic resignation” from his position last month when he became a candidate for a county office, though he’s continued to act in his official capacity.

Now-former Allen Mayor Steve Terrell acknowledged Tuesday night that he effectively resigned from office on December 9 when he filed to run in the March primary for county commissioner.

Section 7.04(5) of the Allen city charter reads:

Should the Mayor, a member of the City Council or any appointed member of a council-appointed commission, committee or study group become a candidate for any elective public office other than the office presently held, such candidacy shall constitute an automatic resignation of such office.

Terrell said during Tuesday’s city council meeting that he knew about the charter provision but was seeking confirmation from City Attorney Pete Smith, which came last Friday—a month after he triggered the resignation:

At that time when I filed, we’ve learned that since we went through, we thought maybe the term limits at that time changed the charter a little. But as a ruling came back on Friday afternoon from Pete Smith … as of that night, I have been basically resigned from my position on December 9.

Terrell made the announcement from the dais, where he continued to preside over the council meeting.

He recommended the council appoint a replacement rather than go to the expense of holding a special election to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in May 2020. Terrell has been the mayor of Allen since 1997 but is unable to run for the office again due to term limits approved by city voters last year.

The city council has 120 days (until April 7) to fill the mayoral position. Smith said Terrell could “hold over” until the council appoints someone to fill the unexpired term.