The Glen Rose City Council met in executive session late Monday afternoon with a representative from a law firm that had been hired to look into “possible litigation with the previous city administrator” but no public action was taken afterward.
On June 28, the City Council voted 3-2 to look into circumstances surrounding the May 11 decision — by mutual agreement with Nolen — to terminate his one-year contract.
Nolen was three months into the new one-year contract, which was scheduled to pay him $93,000. The 3-2 vote to approve the severance package gave Nolen the equivalent of six months’ salary.
At that time, Nolen had said that bullying, specifically on social media, led to his decision to ask the Council to let him out of the contract. That was mostly due to blowback from a five-year contract for solid waste disposal the city of Glen Rose had entered into with Knox Waste Disposal.
On June 11, the Council first voted to authorize Leamons to take the necessary steps to start “an external investigation” into Nolen’s situation.
Bryant’s motion in the June 28 meeting to “proceed” with possible litigation against Nolen was seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Dennis Moore. Julia Douglas, Moore and Bryant voted to approve going forward with the process, while Linda James and Robert Marquez voted no. With that authorization, Leamons then retained the legal services of the Fort Worth-based law firm Lynn, Ross and Gannaway, LLC. Leamons noted at that time, “the Council will be able to take any action they deem appropriate in the regular session, following the regular session.”
The city’s official agenda for Monday’s 4:30 p.m. executive session was listed as “consultation with special council regarding possible litigation with previous city administrator.”
Moore had previously stated that the law firm would “look at all the documents” so the Council members could “evaluate if there is any reason to go forward.”
Neither Mayor Sue Oldenburg nor interim City Administrator Michael Leamons would comment on whether the fact that no action was taken Monday meant an official end to the external investigation.
“There will be no further action at this time,” Oldenburg said of the executive session, declining to elaborate.
However, City Council member Chris Bryant made a statement to the Glen Rose Reporter via email Tuesday morning that “the no action taken from the executive session did not change our decision on the June 28 meeting to begin an investigation process.”
A report in the Wise County Messenger stated that Nolen was selected to begin duties as interim city manager for Bridgeport on May 30.
In the regular monthly meeting that followed the executive session Monday, the Council decided with a 5-0 vote on a motion to retain the services of Brady Pendleton as the city’s attorney as an “at-will” attorney “until the interim city administrator can provide a contract agreement.”
The existing contract for Pendleton as the city attorney has expired.
An agenda item to approve a request through Glen Rose Public Works Manager Jim Holder to install a larger chlorination building as part of the ongoing wastewater plant construction on Texas Drive was approved by a 5-0 margin. Purcell Contracting, Ltd., of Meridian, was approved in November 2016 to build the new plant, replacing the old one. Purcell’s winning bid was $5,659,180.
It was reported at that time that half of the cost would come from a grant from the state and the other half would be from a low-interest loan from the state. Purcell’s CEO attended the meeting and said he recommended the change order to build the expanded chlorination building.
Moore brought a motion to repeal an ordinance that had allowed the city to accept waste water from sources outside the city of Glen Rose at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Holder said that that the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality “wants to know where our waste is coming from,” and that continuing to take in outside waste water “may just complicate getting a permit.”
Holder said that outside waste water currently totals about 7,500 gallons per week — about three truck loads — from Tres Rios RV Park on County Road 312 near Glen Rose. He asked the Council for either a rate increase to be charged to outside sources, or for the city to stop providing the service to Tres Rios.
Council member Linda James said, “I don’t see any benefit to our city for doing this.”
Tres Rios ownership had stated that they want to eventually be annexed into the Glen Rose city limits, according to Leamon.
The Council’s vote on repealing that waste water ordinance was officially a 4-1 vote.
There was no motion and no vote taken on consideration of an agenda item regarding “the collection of bulky solid waste items presently not collected by” Knox Waste Disposal.
Leamons, who is also the manager of Oakdale Park, was authorized by a 5-0 Council vote Monday to seek RFP bids on the swimming pool renovation project at the park, which had been rejected last year because of what was called “bad timing.”
Leamons will consult with an engineer and potentially have bids to consider on improvements to the swimming pool deck, water piping and pumps, controllers for filtration and lighting ready to be considered at the regular meeting in September.
Leamons announced that he had gotten an offer through a brokerage firm known as ADK Solutions to provide the city of Glen Rose with a five-year contract extension through TXU Energy to be the electric provider for the city (not city residents) for 3.79685 cents per kilowatt hour. The city is currently paying 5.9880 cents per kilowatt hour for its electric use.
Leamons advised the Council that the offer was a “special rate because of us being a government entity,” and noted that the specific low-rate quote being offered would be good only until Tuesday “because the market is fluid.” He said that the city would save $223,324 on the proposed deal, which would be for 89 months.
Leamons told the Council that he had not ever seen a better offer. The current contract for the city’s electric service began in 2014 and expires at the end of December 2019.cThe Council voted unanimously (5-0) to accept the proposal.
NEW EDC MEMBERS
The Council accepted nominations for the four expiring seats on the Glen Rose Economic Development Corporation and voted to approve four of five applicants. Council member Julia Douglas had applied and was nominated, but withdrew her name from consideration before the vote.
The Council voted to accept Johnny Martin, William Green, Laura Veno and Candace Scholz as the new EDC members.