Ross Wants to Stay in West U

July 21, 2015 By:Anne Marie Kilday

Local News

Embattled West U City Manager Michael Ross has withdrawn his name from consideration as one of three finalists for the position of City Manager of Missouri City.

In an email Tuesday,  Ross said that “cooler heads may prevail” on the newly elected West U City Council that has tried to terminate his employment.

“As you may be aware, some incoming West University Place city council members elected earlier this year advised me they intended to take steps to end my employment with West U.  Although my strong desire has always been to work with these and other council members in continuing to make this a great city to live, work, and visit, I had to think of my family and the opportunity to find replacement employment with such a fine city as the City of Missouri City was certainly an attractive alternative, albeit secondary to my desire to stay right where I am,” Ross wrote in his email to Mike Tanner, at Strategic Government Resources. That is the search firm working for Missouri City in his effort to hire a new city manager.

“Recently, it seems cooler heads may prevail and that at least a majority of council recognizes the value of a dedicated and experienced professional city manager,” Ross wrote. “In light of their reconsideration, I feel I owe it to the Mayor, Council, Staff and most importantly the citizens of West University Place to be sure there is no mistake about my intent and zeal to continue be here as a committed and dedicated public servant for years to come.”

Ross also notified Mayor Susan Sample, the members of the West U City Council, City Attorney Alan Petrov and Richard Rothfelder, the special legal counsel retained by the council to negotiate the terms of Ross’ severance package from West U. And, Ross notified all city department heads about his decision.

Shortly after taking office in early June, Council members Brennan Reilly and Burt Ballanfant met privately with Ross and said they wanted him to resign.

Reilly, who is vacationing with his family, said, “I do not expect to deal with these issues right now.”

Reilly contended, however, that Ross had earlier “a lot of emails” to the city council, in which the city manager said he had withdrawn his name from consideration “as a semifinalist” for the Missouri City job.

“I would be interested in reading how he got to be a finalist, when he communicated to me that he had withdrawn as a semi-finalist,” Reilly said.

Ross responded to Reilly’s comment by saying: “Today’s email speaks for itself. That is all I can say today.”

Reilly will be out of town and will not attend the council’s scheduled July 27 meeting next week.

“Nothing is going to happen next week. I’m not going to be there,” Reilly said.

Council member Mardi Turner, who has said the new council should try to work with Ross, said, “I find the timing to be interesting. I don’t know which cooler heads are going to prevail.”

Council member Burt Ballanfant also is on vacation and could not be reached for comment. Turner said that Ballanfant will not attend next week’s meeting.

Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kelly did not return emails or telephone calls seeking his reaction to Ross’ decision to withdraw his name from consideration for the Missouri City job.

Reilly, Kelly and Ballanfant have made it clear they do not support Ross as city manager.

Ross has been city manager of West U for 14 years.

Mayor Susan Sample could not be reached for comment.


11 Responses to “Ross Wants to Stay in West U”

  1. Get out of Dodge Says:

    Time to move on cowboy, get out of Dodge.

  2. Johnny B Says:

    I will try to be there. Will you really bring your tuba? I can play the kazoo.

  3. Jim Shields Says:

    The Houston Brass Band is taking a break for the summer so I will be at the council meeting on Monday. The above clip is giving me some ideas. Any suggestions on what I should play on my tuba if Kelly or Reilly start acting up?

  4. Mellissa Martin Says:

    I am so embarrassed, I voted for these clowns too. They are lucky that they did not run on this platform. Who can we contact to join the recall petition campaign? Is there an organized group yet? When we are successful with the recall petition will the recall election occur next May? How does it work?

  5. Steven Segal Says:

    I just read the Village News front page article about the West U City Manager (June 21, 2015). If you think this paper is objective in its coverage of the Council (aka “slate”), I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you. Kathleen Ballanfant, Ben Ballanfant, Burt Ballanfant – get the picture? Do you think the reporting is slanted to favorably reflect on the slate? If you want FACTS and TIMELY reporting, InstantNewsWestU is the place to get them. Share this with your friends by email and on Facebook.
    It is also the place where residents can share their views and provide additional facts to the public. When the Village News misquoted me (suggesting I made a nonsensical statement), I sent a letter to the Editor requesting a correction. No correction was made and I never received a response. So I posted my Letter to the Editor of Village News on this website. I DO WISH MORE CONTRIBUTORS WOULD USE HIS OR HER REAL NAME, AND I RESPECT THOSE WHO DO.

    • Dick Yehle Says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with Steven regarding the lack of objectivity of the Village News. I too have sent them a letter about their weak coverage of the City Manager issue. I pointed out two errors of fact in one of their articles and suggested that all of their articles had missed the key point of the issue, i.e. that the Slate is proposing to spend $300,000+ to replace Michael Ross without citing any deficiencies in Michael’s performance. I did not expect the Village News to print a retraction or even to make humble corrections, but I did expect either an acknowledgement of receiving my letter or future articles with a broader perspective of the unexplained action by the Slate. Neither has occurred.

  6. Brad S. Says:

    Executive management disruption is quite expensive. The direct expense can be accurately measured: 300K severance, 25K-50K hiring cost. But the unknown is the disruption cost. Who besides these three on the city council wants to fire this man? No one I know? I would have ever voted for you if I had known this was your agenda. The disruption cost of this maneuver could be huge.

  7. Johnny B Says:

    Where are the people who want the city manager fired? There is a handful of people who are against everything. People who want the city manager to be fired, here is your challenge, stand-up and be counted.

    Otherwise, it is pretty obvious Ballanfant and Kelly are liars.

  8. Ted Ferguson Says:

    Missouri City’s loss, West U.’s gain. Let’s make sure that the remaining council members that are still here in 6 months renew his contract again.

  9. Continence of West U Says:

    Here is what you need to know:

    Burt Ballanfant is the proxy for his family newspaper that wants West U advertising back. Mike Ross instituted competitive bidding for the city advertising and the Ballanfant newspapers lost the bid every time. Bur that was after a decade-long Ballanfant advertising monopoly. So the Ballanfants are angry.

    Bob Kelly is an ass. But Kelly also hates Mike Ross, the evidence of Kelly’s hatred for Ross is voluminous.

    Brennan Riley? Who Knows? He has his first experience in the bright lights, and so far, he has screwed it up.

    Mardi Turner: Give Mardi a pass

    Susan Sample: Give Susan an all expense paid vacation around the world for having to weather our idiotic city council.

  10. Oscar Jonstonian Says:

    The biggest issue with the slate? They lied by omission. They never told anyone their first move would be to fire the city manager. Maybe 25 people in West U cared about that. And 15 of them are the same people who look for a UFO in their backyard every Saturday night.

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