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Questions arise concerning validity of Palestine City Manager contract

PALESTINE, July 11, 2014, 4:40 p.m.– UPDATE: Palestine City Attorney Ronald Stutes contacted KNET News Director Gary Richards to say he would not comment on the issue, but the "City is aware of it, and it will be addressed at the Monday night City council meeting."


Original Story

PALESTINE, July 11, 2014– Questions arose Friday morning on 'Meddling in the Morning' with Bob and Darla on KNET 95.7 concerning the validity of the contract of Palestine City Manager Wendy Ellis.

Bob Herrington, former Palestine Mayor and host of 'Meddling in the Morning', said, "The question was posed in a previous show, by co-host Darla, about what ‘majority of the council’ meant. At that point, I did some research and discovered that it took four votes to pass anything, according to section 4.9 of the Palestine Code of Ordinances."

The Palestine Code of Ordinances Article 4, section 4.9 states, "The city council shall determine its own rules of procedure and may compel the attendance of its members. A majority of the members of the city council shall constitute a quorum to do business and the affirmative vote of four (4) members of the city council shall be necessary to adopt any ordinance, resolution, appointment or other official action and this provision shall control over any other provisions in the charter to the contrary. Minutes of the proceedings of all meetings of the city council shall be kept, to which any citizen may have access at all reasonable times. The vote upon the passage of all ordinances and resolutions shall be taken by the "ayes" and "nays" and entered upon the minutes, and every ordinance or resolution, upon its final passage, shall be recorded in a book kept for that purpose, and shall be authenticated by the signature of the presiding officer and the person performing the duties of the city secretary."

On October 28, 2013, the Palestine City Council met in regular session. One topic of discussion was the contract of then interim City Manager Wendy Ellis. After meeting in closed session, Council reconvened in open session, and council member Steve Presley made a motion to approve the contract. It was seconded by Council member Mark Price. Mayor Therrell Thomas joined Presley and Price in voting to approve the contract, while Council members Vernon Denman and Vickey Chivers voted against approval. The final outcome was 3-2 in favor of approving the contract to hire Wendy Ellis as Palestine's full-time City Manager. According to Herrington, the three to two vote did not meet the requirements of section Article 4, section 4.9.

After the show, KNET News Director Gary Richards attempted to contact City Attorney Ronald Stutes for comment. Calls were not returned.

Listen to the July 11, 2014 "Meddling in the Morning" show by clicking the play button below.

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