WU council meets Monday, but two will be vacationing

July 24, 2015 By:Anne Marie Kilday

Local News

The West University Place City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

But the  council is not scheduled to discuss the employment of City Manager Michael Ross, since some members of the council will be out of town on vacation. Councilmember Brennan Reilly said, “Nothing is going to happen next week. I’m not going to be there.” Councilmember Burt Ballanfant is also on vacation and will not be at Monday night’s meeting.

The remaining three members are scheduled to discuss amending the Code of Ordinances to allow a new veterinary clinic to operate within the city limits, as well as the council’s own rules of procedure.

The council also will consider an agreement with the law firm of Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, for the collection of outstanding municipal court fines.

Ross earlier this week withdrew his name from consideration from a list of three finalists for the job of city manager of Missouri City.

Ross made it clear in an email to the search firm working for the city of Missouri City that it is his desire to remain as city manager of West U.

Three of the newly elected city council members — Brennan Reilly, Burt Ballanfant and Bob Kelly — have made it clear in earlier meetings that they want to terminate Ross’ employment with the city of West U.

In bowing out of consideration for the Missouri City post, Ross said it is his hope that “cooler heads will prevail,” and that he would like to remain in his job with West U. He has been city manager of West U for nearly 14 years.



22 Responses to “WU council meets Monday, but two will be vacationing”

  1. Will Bertron Says:

    Question- City Council meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month. Can one (actually two!) not plan their vacations around that schedule? I have served on a number of volunteer boards, in fact chairing many of them, and I have always held that responsibility as a priority over my personal activities. Call me old fashioned, but isn’t that a reflection of commitment? Thanks to the three of you who met this past Monday. Shame on the two of you who took an oath to serve and then left town.

    • Come on Says:

      Last fall, Bob Fry, the former Mayor laid a bomb shell about the City’s plan to do a land swap with West U Baptist Church. He then conveniently had a vacation planned across the globe and was gone for weeks and left the rest of the council to deal with the situation.

  2. Steven Segal Says:

    “Lobbying” is generally defined as the act of attempting to influence decisions made by legislators. It appears clear, from the reports below, that our city manager and staff acted appropriately by disqualifying the firm in question. What part of this does Bob Kelly not understand? The slate needs to step back and let Michael Ross and the staff do their job — which they do very well together.

  3. Lucille Gallman Says:

    Jim Shields: I am impressed with the amount of “information” in your comment today. Did you write it all by yourself? Last Thursday you said you were going to bring your tuba to the Monday Council meeting and play it. I am so sorry I missed your performance.

    • Jim Shields Says:


      I wrote it all by myself.

      Since no one gave me any suggestion on what to play on my tuba, I left it at home.

      But after being tortured by Kelly’s two sermons, i regretted that decision.

      • Lucille Gallman Says:

        Jim Shields: You probably shouldn’t plan on playing your tuba at a Council meeting. Under the rules, the mayor is the presiding officer and under Public Participation:
        Rule 27. Remarks to be Germane. Public comments must be kept relevant to the subject before the Council. The presiding officer shall rule on the relevance of comments. Persons making irrelevant, personal, impertinent, or slanderous remarks may be barred by the presiding officer from further comment before the Council during the meeting.

        Is there something on YouTube with you or your group playing?

        • Jim Shields Says:

          This a a poor video of us at Jones hall two years ago.

          • Lucille Gallman Says:

            I don’t think it is poor video and the Houston Brass Band sounds great. I haven’t been in Jones Hall in years and really enjoyed listening to the music. I scrolled down and watched and listened to them play background music for the Wings over Houston in 2009. Made me a little sad since Jones Hall looks like I remember it and seeing my uncle dedicate it in 1966. I had season tickets when Andre Previn was conductor and every New Year’s Eve we would see Arthur Fiedler conduct the Boston Pops. Really, the sound by the Brass Band is very good on You Tube and they sound every bit as good as the Boston Pops. I have heard the Brass Band before. It must be fun belonging to such a group.

  4. Jim Shields Says:

    Bob Kelly is losing it.
    As most of you know, I have known Bob for well over 30 years and of the many things that can be said about him, I would never accuse him of stupidity or being incapable of understanding complex issues.
    But I sat through tonight’s City Council meeting and I can report that Bob is being blinded by his own BS.
    Here is what happened – first some background. In our form of government, elected officials set policies and establish budgets. Our city manager carries out those policies and operates within those budgets. This system works very well as all of us can attest.
    Sometimes, the City manager will subcontract some of the services best done by others. The process begins with a Request for Proposal (RFP). In the RFP, the scope of work is defined and standard procurement rules are defined. One of the rules in our RFP’s is that lobbying is prohibited. People who respond to RFP’s know what this means but I will explain what “no lobbying” means. It means that you respond in writing to everything requested and that you do not contact anyone outside of the procurement process – like our elected officials. Period. This is very clear.
    So now we come to tonight. Our city sent out a RFP for the collection of fines and 3 or 4 law firms responded. One of the firms called Bob before tonight’s meeting and Kelly told them he would not be lobbied but that if the firm chose, they could come to the meeting and make their case. In and of itself, this is wrong. We have a procurement process and our elected officials have no business inserting themselves in the process.
    Now it gets dicey. An agenda item called for the council to approve the contract for the fine collections. Our city staff had done their job and did a bid tab – that’s procurement language for comparing RFP’s and coming up with a winner. Kelly wanted to have a report on how the winner was selected.
    The lawyer who called Bob tonight was there tonight and was allowed to speak. Then Mike Ross said that that firm was disqualified because they broke the rules on lobbying. Of course, Kelly thought he was the center of attention and gave all of us a mini sermon on the very high ethics of lawyers because lawyers go to law school, pass a state enforced bar exam, and commit themselves to following the rules. Kelly very forcefully declared that he was not lobbied.
    What Kelly did not know was that this firm had sent a two page email to Mayor Sample lobbying her for the contract.
    This new news had no impact on Bob because he then gave us a second sermon on transparency; telling us that if the council approved this contract we would never know what went on behind closed doors in choosing the winner. Sample said that this is not the way the city works. Mardi Turner agreed with the Mayor but by now Kelly had worked himself up into such a transparency snit, that Turner and Sample acquiesced (wrongly in my view) to Kelly’s tantrum
    So this is what will happen at the next council meeting. Ross will give his report essentially explaining the details of the bid tab and showing the council the two page lobbying email that disqualified Bob’s “very ethical” lawyer who called him tonight and was allowed to lobby the council.

    • Dick Yehle Says:

      Further to Jim Shields extensive recap of Kelly’s over-the-top exploits in the name of transparency. It is telling that Kelly and his friends on Council want to subject the public to the intimate details of arriving at a $20,000 administrative contract but have been less than transparent about the details and process for spending in excess of $300,000 to dismiss an excellent City Manager. I guess that transparency only matters when they want to score political points.

  5. Recall them Says:

    Wait. You mean Burt is on vacation without Kelly? Who’s carrying Burt’s luggage if his personal water boy is back in West U?

  6. Tangley Resident Says:

    So Brennan is out of town. Burt is out of town. Why did you people elect these two? You can’t vote if you don’t show up.

  7. Will Bertron Says:

    I am really disgusted by the following- “Councilmember Brennan Reilly said, ‘Nothing is going to happen next week. I’m not going to be there.’ ”
    Perhaps I am misinterpreting what appears to be a tasteless air of arrogance and unearned self-importance. Perhaps…

  8. Lucille Gallman Says:

    Disgusted: Is this trash talk really necessary?

  9. Disgusted voter Says:

    Don’t expect a vote on anything important while Ballanfant is away. He runs the show, and Kelly is his puppy dog. When Ballanfant says “jump” … you get my point.

  10. Disgusted voter Says:

    It’s a strange situation when two councilmembers are absent, so people want the three remaining councilmembers can get things done right – and one of the three is crazy old Bob Kelly. Let’s face it, we have four councilmembers who aren’t worth a damn. Let’s hope Mayor Sample can maintain her sanity until we get a chance to vote out liars Turner, Ballanfant, Reilly and Kelly.

  11. WestURes Says:

    Any way we can force a vote on Michael Ross’ position while those two are away?
    He should be allowed to stay on as City manager. Period.

  12. david d Says:

    You are correct Steven. Nothing new in Ms. Kilday’s brief article.G28R

  13. Steven Segal Says:

    InstantNewsWestU article June 21 stated that Council members Ballafant and Reilly are vacationing and will not be at the meeting Monday night (June 27). Reilly was quoted as saying: “Nothing is going to happen next week. I’m not going to be there”

    • Ted Ferguson Says:

      All the more reason to watch, Steven. I don’t expect anyone to give advance notice of their intentions, given the unpopularity of the ideas being proposed. Stay vigilant.

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