The West U City Council will meet at the unusual time of 5:20 p.m. today for a “special meeting” to discuss the ouster of City Manager Michael Ross.
Former West U Councilman Dick Yehle sent an “urgent request” to friends and neighbors over the weekend, urging them to attend the meeting this afternoon.
In the email, Yehle wrote that Councilmembers Brennan Reilly and Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kelly “have orchestrated a Special Meeting to allow them to dismiss City Manager Michael Ross without much visibility or public input.”
“To date, they have offered no tangible reasons for their proposed action,” Yehle wrote. “It seems that they are prepared to either dismiss Michael for no reason and pay him a contractual severance package of about $300,000, or manufacture a legal cause for dismissal to avoid the severance but virtually guaranteeing a lawsuit for unfair dismissal, contractual interference, age discrimination, etc,” Yehle wrote. “Either way the City loses.”
Yehle continued, “Reilly and Kelly are utilizing some complicated and highly irregular political maneuvers to bypass the normally collegial West U political system. It could be helpful if you would voice your opinion at the meeting or reach out to Councilmembers by e-mail urging them to abandon this reckless and seemingly unfounded action.”
Last week, the agenda for the City Council’s meeting was originally posted for the “special meeting” to start at 6 p.m., at the request of West U Mayor Susan Sample.
Reilly had asked that the special meeting start at 5 p.m.
When the agenda for a 6 p.m. meeting was posted, Reilly wrote a email to West U City Secretary Thelma Lenz and demanded that the meeting be reposted for a 5 p.m. start time.
Mayor Sample said that she had hoped to start the meeting at 6 p.m. so that more West U residents could attend.
Because of the dispute over the meeting time — and a requirement under the Texas Open Meetings Act requiring that meetings be posted for 72 hours before the meeting time, the special meeting was set at 5:20 p.m.
Sample did add an item to the agenda that will allow for public comments on the Ross employment issue.
The council is scheduled to meet in its regularly scheduled meeting after the special meeting.
The agenda for the regular meeting includes a discussion of the appointment of an interim city manager.
Ross has been employed as West U city manager for 14 years, including serving as city manager during the the mayoral terms of Council member Burt Ballanfant and Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kelly.