This article was originally written by William Patrick at the Palestine Herald and while “Bill” did not get the entire story he managed much more than he usually does. Keep digging Bill, you are getting closer.
What you may not be aware of was that this $100,000 payment was for silence against the City Lawyer in the “Lawnmower Man Lawsuit.” This allowed Mr. Alexander the ability to move outside subpoena range. He did not have to testify. My understanding is that he refused to back up his signed affidavit in court. So, they paid him off, postponed court for 30 days and allowed him to move. The Judge would not allow him to be subpoenaed.
With city officials seeking ideas for closing a $1- million operating deficit in next year’s budget, they’ve not had much help from the consultant who, since Oct. 1, has received $100,000 from city taxpayers.
That consultant is former City Manager Mike Alexander. In September of last year, City Council members unanimously approved paying him $100,000 in consulting fees for this fiscal year.
City Manager Michael Hornes told the Herald-Press that Alexander, in addition to providing training, is available to all city employees and has, in effect, become “everyone’s advisor.”
A Herald-Press investigation and telephone poll have found, however, that, of the 66 people listed in Palestine’s online director of department heads and employees, only three say they have phoned Alexander for advice: Palestine Police Chief Andy Harvey; Municipal Court Coordinator Courtney Acklin; and Communications and Best Practices Officer Nate Smith.
Calls to Public Works Director Tim Perry were not returned.
Moreover, documents provided to the Herald-Press show training by Alexander has been infrequent.
From November 2017 through July 2018, Alexander has provided seven classes, and one conference call, for the city.
Adding the classes he is scheduled to teach this month, Alexander has provided 15 days of training, plus phone consultations.
Mayor Steve Presley told the Herald-Press Friday the contract specified that Alexander was to train employees, not consult on the budget.
“We’re not paying him [Alexander] for financial advice,” Presley said. “He helps with employee efficiency, not economic efficiency.”
Harvey, hired last August, said since Alexander had served as interim-police chief prior to becoming the City Manager, his insights have been extremely valuable.
“He [Alexander] has a history here, and perspective,” he said. “Bouncing ideas off of him has helped me do my job more effectively.”
Smith told the Herald-Press that he considers Alexander more than an advisor.
“He is my friend and mentor,” Smith said. “I call him often for advice on a variety of issues.”
Acklin said her calls to Alexander have been infrequent at best, but she has sought his counsel more than once.
“It hasn’t been often,” Acklin said. “I call whenever I have an issue I’m unsure of.”
This week, Hornes, Presley, and city council members will make budgetary decisions, including a possible decrease in city employee benefits, tax hikes, and layoffs.
Calls made to Mike Alexander by the Herald-Press were not returned.
In 2017 Alexander told council members that he didn’t want the job: “I told you I was not interested (in the permanent job),” he said. “I never applied to Palestine. They called me.”
When Alexander came to Palestine, he said he intended to stay six months as the interim police chief. Then-City Manager Wendy Ellis asked him if he would stay a year. He agreed.
After Alexander was in Palestine for nine months as interim police chief, he decided to reorganize the police department. Ellis asked Alexander to stay another 15 months to complete the reorganization.
When Ellis was fired in October 2015, Alexander agreed to become interim city manager. When the city hired a search firm last year to look for a city manager, Alexander told the council he did not want to be considered for the job.
After the city council chose not to hire its top choice, it asked Alexander to stay. He agreed to a nearly two-year contract that paid him $150,000 a year, and hired Michael Hornes, an assistant director of public works, to be his assistant city manager.
“The plan I had was to work with him for a year,” Alexander said Monday. “I ask you guys to remove me as city manager and put me in a consultant role until Sept. 30, 2018. I will be willing to work with the city in any capacity you want. I no longer will be a city employee or have any authority.”
Councilman Mitchell Jordan commended Alexander for what he accomplished as city manager.
“You did great,” he said, adding the changes Alexander made will have lasting effects. Jordan told Alexander that this probably was a good time to leave the city, saying he knows the family sacrifices Alexander had to make.
Councilman Will Brule thanked Alexander for his service and told him he had his complete respect.
Councilwoman Vickey Chivers said Alexander will be remembered for making some impressive changes in the city.
Councilman Joe Baxter agreed with the the rest of the council. “When I met you the first time, I knew the city was in good hands,” Baxter said. “I respect you in all ways. I like you, brother — friend for life.”
Councilwoman Ann Connor told Alexander that he was always professional and had been good for Palestine.
Question? What amazing things did Mike Alexander do in his role with the city that the council members and mayor all applaud him for. A general fund deficit exceeding $1 million?
In the meantime Palestine City Employees will struggle with health insurance. Remember the great dental plans of the 1990’s?
** Safety Tip for Palestine City Workers – If you are tasked to drive to Jerry Laza’s shop and told to look around for rat droppings or something amidst the old lawnmowers and stuff. Be very careful! If you get injured the city may not pay for it.
Tuesday night a Town Hall meeting was held in Palestine about the budget (or lack of one).
Liars and Thieves run Palestine Texas. During the budget meeting City Manager Micheal Hornes said that City Attorney Ron Stutes filing the Law Suit without Authority was an allegation. If they cared enought to attend Court they would know he admitted it under Oath. Here it is:
THE COURT: Mr. Laza, right now, you’re cross examining
a witness, not arguing the case. So do you have any further
questions to ask, go ahead and ask.
MR. LAZA: Okay. To your knowledge, do you know if Mr. Mike Alexander got a city ordinance to prosecute this case?
MR. STUTES: No, there was no city ordinance to
prosecute this case.
MR. LAZA: Okay. Do you know if Mike Alexander got any kind of permission to prosecute this case?
MR. STUTES: As I said, the city council was made aware of this and there has absolutely been no objection to it going
Per the court record transcript Laza continues to question Stutes about who authorized the lawsuit against him. Stutes continues to evade the question repeatedly until its broken down into a yes no answer before admitting no one authorized the lawsuit at the city or state level.
& because of this a Man’s life is in ruin and forced into Bankruptcy.