The connection between the city of Glen Rose and Chester Nolen, its former city administrator, may not be over after all.
The Glen Rose City Council voted 3-2 late Monday night to authorize Interim City Administrator Michael Leamons to negotiate and solicit proposals for “an external investigation” following an executive session that included what was described on the meeting agenda as “consultation with city attorney regarding possible litigation with previous city administrator.”
Leamons said on Tuesday, “My understanding is that the intent is for me to talk to firms and get proposals on what they would charge the city to conduct an investigation. It involves municipal law, so it will have to be somebody involved in municipal law.”
On May 11, the City Council and Nolen agreed to terminate his contact as the city administrator. That 3-2 vote by the council was effective at the end of that work day, and came just a little over three months after Nolen was given a one-year contact extension worth $93,000.
Nolen confirmed the agreement with the Council called for him to be paid six months salary as part of a severance deal that ended his contract.
Nolen, a Cleburne resident, had been under criticism from some residents through what he referred to as “bullying” on social media as a result of the controversial five-year contract for solid waste disposal that was awarded to Knox Waste Service last October.
Following the executive session that lasted approximately an hour and a half, Council member Chris Bryant brought up the motion to authorize Leamons to look into finding someone to investigate the circumstances that led to Nolen’s contract termination agreement.
“It was based off of item B of the executive session agenda item,” Bryant stated in a text message after being reached on Tuesday morning by the Glen Rose Reporter. “I had placed the item to discuss and possibly take action to look into the termination of the previous city administrator’s contract.
“The majority of the Council found enough reason to direct the new interim city administrator to seek options for an external investigation.”
There was no public discussion after the private executive session ended Monday night, and the attendees who had been in attendance for the regular public meeting session earlier were long gone.
After Bryant submitted his motion, it was seconded by Council member Julia Douglas. The three who voted yes to authorize the investigation were Bryant, Douglas and Mayor Pro-Tem Dennis Moore. The two no votes came from Robert Marquez and Linda James.
When the Council voted to terminate Nolen’s contract, the three yes votes were cast by James along with former Council members Sandra Ramsay and Doug Mitchell. The no votes came from Moore and Marquez.
Following Monday’s meeting, Mayor Sue Oldenburg was asked to comment on the executive session motion and vote, but stated, “I prefer not to. There’s enough controversy without me voicing my opinion at this time.”
Glen Rose City Attorney Brady Pendleton told the newspaper as he was leaving Monday’s meeting that he could not comment on the matter.
According to reports, Nolen is now the interim city administrator for the city of Bridgeport.