West U Council to Consider Ross’ Future

June 13, 2015 By:Anne Marie Kilday

Local News

The purpose of the West University Place City Council’s meeting Thursday has been revealed: the newly elected council is meeting to consider hiring “special legal counsel” to advise them on City Manager Michael Ross’ future with the city.

The agenda for the meeting, to be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 18, includes an executive session of the council to evaluate Ross’ performance. Ross has been city manager of West U for 14 years.

The agenda says that the council will discuss hiring a lawyer to “analyze and advise Council regarding the City Manager’s employment agreement, to consult with Council regarding the same, and to assist Council in implementing changes to the same.”

The special meeting was called for at the council’s regular meeting last week, by Councilman Brennan Reilly.

During the executive session, the agenda states that the council may: “Deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee” and consult with the attorney “to receive legal advice concerning the city’s manager’s employment agreement.”

The agenda for the meeting includes an opportunity for the public to comment on matters on the agenda.

15 Responses to “West U Council to Consider Ross’ Future”

  1. Jim Shields Says:

    See revised agenda above.

    Susan Sample seems to have had enough of the slate’s back door negotiations. All issues will be held in open session like they are supposed to be. Burt and Brennan’s secret meeting is put off until the end. I hope the Susan can convince Bob and Mardi to keep their promise of transparency and delete the secret meeting from the agenda.

  2. Ted Ferguson Says:

    The city manager, by job description, acts at the direction of city council – and has for 14 years, now. Six resident elected city councils have renewed his contract. If Michael Ross was out on a limb, by himself, sawing away, he would have been gone a long, long time ago. Why the sudden urgency, in mid-contract, and at great expense to the city, to get rid of him? If he had mishandled a previous council’s business, a previous council would have canned him.

    • Brokelyn Says:

      New Council members, much like new CEOs, should review their inherited assets (including personnel) and ensure that they have the best assets to carry out their mission. Ross’ position should be constantly evaluated (I sure hope that this isn’t the first time in 14 years!) and doing so at the beginning of a new Council’s tenure makes all the sense in the world.

      Again, all this is assuming that the review is impartial. If, as alleged, there have been back-room discussions to make a change for reasons outside of performance, then that would be a dereliction of duty.

  3. Citizen Says:

    It would be a nice show of support if Ed Heathcott, Dick Yehle, and Joan Johnson show some support and justification for the decisions Mike Ross made on behalf of West University Place and the former council. I hope they are at the upcoming meetings.

    • Brokelyn Says:

      No, they are no longer relevant. Let go of the past. That’s not how organizations work.

  4. Citizen Says:

    Mike Ross will not have any problem answering and justifying all he has done. He is a pro.

    • Citizen Says:

      Mike Ross is not a professional . He needs to go. I’m thrilled this is a priority for our city. It’s great to have new leadership.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    The City Manager needs to answer questions. What’s wrong with that? He knew this was coming and he is well prepared.

  6. David Says:

    Their will be held to the fire, I promise you.

  7. Brokelyn Says:

    I’m all in favor of a review of Michael Ross’ performance and duties. He has the most important job in this city, yet most citizens don’t know him. Our Council is doing the right thing with this review (and hopefully it is intended to be an impartial review).

    If there is an ulterior motive to hire someone else regardless of Ross’ performance, then this is just a continuation of previous Council’s disregard for process and transparency. However, instead of jumping to conclusions, I’ll wait and see how this new Council runs this process.

    Remember, less than 15% of registered West U citizens voted. Those ~1,300 people who voted in this “slate” will hopefully hold their candidates’ feet to the fire. And to all of the losers who failed to vote, I hope you pass out from the pain of biting your tongues.

    • West U Resident Says:

      Impartial review? What are you talking about? Two members of the slate have already directly asked him to resign. Old vendettas die hard. This has nothing to do with performance.

      • Brokelyn Says:

        I did say that I “hope” this is intended to be an impartial review. I’m not privy to the alleged back-room discussions and I sure as hell am not going to accept what I read on the Internet as fact without corroboration. A few people here are already up in arms over what they have read — are you sure that you have the facts?

        West U Resident, you seem to have knowledge of Ross’ 14-year performance. I don’t have that level of detailed knowledge. I have read that he was the City Manager at the time that the city bungled negotiations to obtain additional drainage and years later that error cost us a significant amount to fix. Other than that issue, I don’t know all of the other facts about his tenure to take “sides.” Care to fill us in on what you know so that we can all make a better decision?

  8. Jim Shields Says:

    Ballanfant wants to hire Richard Rothfelder who has no employment experience, so this is complete cronyism at its finest. Coming from the transparency slate who said process is everything. They want to replace the current city attorney with Richard Rothfelder who has minimal municipal experience. He’s not a municipal lawyer. He is the city attorney for Southside Place, but only because he was mayor there for 10 years. He just doesn’t have the expertise for a real city like West U.

  9. Jim Shields Says:

    I have sent several emails to “the slate” and except for a few petulant responses by Brennan Reilly, they have been totally silent.

    These council members ran on the promise of transparency and responsiveness. I urge the readers here to email them. Perhaps they will respond to you.

    Me – they are ignoring.

  10. West U Resident Says:

    I thought one of the platforms these guys ran on was no closed executive sessions. Now one of their very first actions is calling a closed executive session!

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