Setting us up for failure

According to news reports our Mayor has signed a separation agreement with our soon to be departed city attorney.

We don’t know what the final version of the agreement looks like.

KTSM has evidently requested a copy under the Texas Public Information Act.  The city has yet to produce it even though the act reads:

Sec. 552.221. APPLICATION FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION; PRODUCTION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION. (a) An officer for public information of a governmental body shall promptly produce public information for inspection, duplication, or both on application by any person to the officer. In this subsection, “promptly” means as soon as possible under the circumstances, that is, within a reasonable time, without delay.

As soon as possible does not mean waiting the maximum amount of time that they can.  What it means is that if they have the document they should copy it as soon a a copy machine is available and turn it over to the requester.   Unfortunately the Act does not make this kind of stalling illegal.  We have learned that many of our public officials are willing to do things that are wrong if they know that they are not illegal.

The version that KTSM has received might not be the final one, however the one they got has this in it:

The person signing this Agreement on behalf of the City certifies that the person has full authority and approval to bind the City to this Agreement.

The mayor cannot agree to contracts without prior city council approval.

We deserve better


8 Responses to Setting us up for failure

  1. And, according to what I just read on KTSM’s web site, he even got outside counsel, for which we also paid! This guy is no better than his predecessors, and thinks he’s another Donnie Bone Spurs!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Politicians in El Taxo do whatever they want to do, ILLEGAL or not. The Mayor, Council approves, GIVES AWAY this money for no reason, OUR tax money, then HE, they need to be recalled, FIRED. Just one big Society of Corruption, just like EPISD. But that is what WE have learned to expect from THEM. THEY, none of THEM are accountable to US. So what did this Lawyer do that she had to Resign “Retire”, “Quit” and be given all this TAXPAYER money? A bribe, hush money, pay-off?? What are THEY paying HER for??


  3. good governance oxymoron says:

    The City paid Ms Firth severance because they did not want to get sued for wrongful termination and breach of contract.

    The jerks on this Council used decisions and direction given and approved by previous administrations to trash her on a performance evaluation that legally should only cover the current year 2017.

    Regardless of whether one approves of Ms Firth’s performance she should be evaluated accurately and as contractually agreed.

    I question the intellectual competence as well as integrity of any administration that thinks they have the authority to punish an employee for following direction from previous administrations.

    Unfortunately the media is putting a questionable spin on the title. .

    Ms Firth’s sister is a lawyer at the law firm Ray, McChristian & Jeans.

    The city has used this law firm for years even before Ms Firth was appointed CA.

    The story covers a total payout of $840,000 over a 7 year period from 2011 – 2018 which averages out to about $120,000 per year.

    $610,000 was paid for insurance claims and the insurance company picked the law firm not Ms Firth.

    Typically insurance claims are paid by the insurance company not the City. The City would pay a yearly premium for the insurance policy.

    $230,000 was voted on by a previous City Council in the Cook/Wilson era for PD & Fire collective bargaining and the 3 Legged Money which was pushed by Acosta and Ortega. Again not Ms Firth.

    Here is the link and the highlights

    KFOX14 Investigates: Records show city paid city attorney’s sister more than $840,000

    The records from the city show the city paid Chris Borunda more than $840,000 between January 2011 and May 2018.

    The city attorney’s office has used her firm — Ray, McChristian & Jeans — numerous times for legal services.

    A portion of the payments came from insurance claims in which the insurance company picked the law firm used.

    But the city has hired Borunda individually, or her firm for about a dozen cases.

    Notably, she’s been paid more than $220,000 for collective bargaining negotiations between the city and the fire and police unions.

    She was also paid $10,000 in the Three Legged Monkey case, in which the city bought the shopping mall where the bar is located.


    • not so fast says:

      You say that a portion of the payments came from insurance claims in which the insurance company picked the law firm used. That’s not necessarily true. Insurance companies don’t always select the law firm to defend against claims. Policies for insured parties like the city often stipulate that the insurance company agrees to let the insured use their preferred law firm and that the insurer will cover the fees of that firm. Ms. Firth was in a position to have her sister’s law firm be named as the city’s preferred defense counsel.


      • good governance oxymoron says:

        The statement came directly from the story which stated that the insurance company picked the law firm used which is why I cited and pulled the story statement into the text of the post. Here is the statement from the story.
        “A portion of the payments came from insurance claims in which the insurance company picked the law firm used.”

        I do not disagree with your post however with the information available it does not apply nor is their any indication that Ms FIrth was in a position to influence the choice.


        • not so fast says:

          Not to be argumentative, but you’re assuming that the Times reporter understands how insurance works and that their choice of the word “picked” is correct or that the person who told them that was truthful.


    • JerryK says:

      People would be astounded at the money spent on outside legal fees by the city and its affiliates. Why do you suppose lawyers donate so much to city council reps?


    • Anonymous says:

      The city has continually battled with Billy Abraham, imposing fines and taking legal actions intended to force the sale of his downtown properties. Firth’s husband represented some of Abraham’s creditors. Enough said.


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