Council declines to release Kovacs early
The Port Aransas City Council has selected the town’s planning and projects manager, Dave Parsons, to be interim city manager after Michael Kovacs leaves the position.
The council voted 6-0 in favor of Parsons following an executive session held at the end of a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 19. Parsons’ annual salary will be $87,675 divided out in two-week increments.
Kovacs gave notice on Thursday, Nov. 5, that he intended to resign his job to take a position as assistant city manager of Park City, Utah. His work contract with Port Aransas called on him to provide one month’s notice if he intended to resign. That would make his last day at work Friday, Dec. 4, though he technically would remain city manager through the weekend, until Sunday, Dec. 6.
Kovacs asked the council to release him early because Park City was eager to get him into office. Kovacs requested that his last day be Nov. 25.
Without holding a vote, council members at the Nov. 19 meeting decided by consensus against letting Kovacs go early. As a result, it appears his last day at Port Aransas City Hall will be Dec. 4.
Mayor Claude Brown and Councilman Charles Bujan said they had no problem with an early departure for Kovacs. Bujan made a motion to let Kovacs go early, but it died for lack of a second.
Council member Glenda Balentine was among those who wanted to keep Kovacs in town a little longer.
“Pursuant to the agenda and things we’re working on, I’d like you to be here,” Balentine said.
Mayor Pro Tem Keith McMullin said he wants Kovacs’ help in finding a new city manager for Port Aransas.
Councilman Mike Hall said he could go either way on the issue, but he noted, “we’ve got a lot of irons in the fire.”
Councilman Rick Pratt said he was OK with letting Kovacs head out early. “We’re going to lose him pretty quick anyway,” Pratt said.
The council overwhelmingly has praised Kovacs for the job he has done since he was hired as city manager in 2004. Pratt offered a method to keep Kovacs in town even beyond Dec. 4.
“We have him arrested for breach of contract and have him sentenced to two years’ community service here in Port Aransas,” Pratt joked, prompting laughter throughout council chambers.
Parsons will have his work cut out for him after Kovacs leaves. In addition to serving as interim city manager, Parsons maintains his responsibilities as planning and projects manager. He also has to keep watch over the city’s public works department, at least for a while. Interim Public Works Director Tom Ginter recently accepted a new job as city manager of Beeville.
In fact, Parsons has suggested that he take over as public works director after a new city manager is hired, according to a briefing Kovacs put together for the city council.
“This is a good idea, due to all the beach issues, drainage maintenance needs and timing of the needs of public works, entering the tourist season, along with the anticipated decreased workload in (planning and zoning),” Kovacs wrote in the briefing. Parsons still would handle project management work, Kovacs wrote.
The council did not take action on the idea of Parsons moving to public works. It will be up to the next city manager to decide who becomes the next head of public works.