Port A council to discuss city managerFree Access

Dan Parker

News editor

© 2022 South Jetty

Preparation for Port Aransas City Manager Dave Parsons’ annual evaluation could be on the agenda when the city council meets on Thursday, March 17.

Councilman David Sieloff has requested that the matter be put in the agenda, according to a city council message board on Port Aransas City Hall’s website.

The agenda final agenda hadn’t yet been posted as of early on the afternoon of Saturday, March 12. Finished council agendas normally aren’t posted until the Monday before Thursday council meetings.

While the idea of terminating Parsons has arisen before the council in recent months, Sieloff said the agenda item he has proposed doesn’t represent an effort on his part to fire Parsons.

It has “nothing to do with dismissing Dave Parsons,” Sieloff told the South Jetty. It simply is that time of year when the council should prepare for Parsons’ evaluation, which is expected to happen in April, Sieloff said.

Parsons said he will be at the March 17 council meeting but had no other comment on the matter.

Sieloff’s online message board proposal suggested that the Parsons matter be handed in a session that’s closed to the public as a personnel matter. However, city employees have the option of requesting that agenda items about them be held in open session. It’s unclear whether Parsons will make that request.

Parsons got high marks from the council during his evaluation in April last year. At the time, the council members were Shannon Solimine, Bruce Clark, Joan Holt, Wendy Moore, Beth Owens and Charles Crawford. The mayor was Charles Bujan.

The council’s makeup has changed a lot over the last year.

City elections were held in May and November. Now the council is made up of Holt, Clark, Tim Parke, Tina Mott, Jo Ellyn Krueger and Sieloff. Bujan died on Feb. 9.

Mott, who was elected in November, said in an interview with the South Jetty late last year that she didn’t think Parsons has done a good enough job and should be fired.

In a Dec. 9 South Jetty story, Clark and Holt said Parsons had done a good job as city manager and that he shouldn’t be let go. Bujan said the same thing. Neither Parke nor Krueger responded to requests from the South Jetty for comment.

Sieloff said he didn’t support firing Parsons “at this time,” and he added that his opinion could change “in a month from now.”

Mott had an item put on the agenda for the Dec. 16 council meeting “to deliberate the continued employment, evaluation, duties, discipline, and or dismissal of a public officer or employee – City Manager.”

But, at that meeting, the council voted 7-0 to remove that topic, along with a few other closed-session items, from the agenda. Council members generally didn’t state reasons during the meeting for their votes, though Sieloff did say he wanted to revisit Parsons’ job performance at a future meeting and “understand what people’s concerns are.”

In an interview immediately after that meeting, Sieloff elaborated on why he wanted to postpone discussion of Parsons’ work as city manager.

“This was a ridiculously politically charged meeting tonight. It’s a week before Christmas,” Sieloff said, adding that he didn’t want to needlessly stress Bujan, who had been undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.

“I’d rather just say, ‘Hey, let’s step back and have a Christmas cool-down here, evaluate this,’ ” Sieloff said.

Asked on Friday, March 11, whether he believes Parsons’ employment should be terminated, Sieloff said, “At this point, I don’t see any reason.”

Asked what kind of job he thinks Parsons has done, Sieloff responded: “I think Dave has a huge amount of knowledge about the way things work in the city, and he’s an important figure.”

At a Feb. 24 meeting, the council voted 4-2 to fire longtime city attorney Michael Morris. Mott, Parke, Krueger and Sieloff were in the majority. Clark and Holt voted no.

“Mike, we think you’ve done a great job with everything, and this is nothing personal,” Krueger told Morris during the meeting. “… I’m speaking for myself. I want to go in another direction. We change city councils, mayors, every six years, and you have been here for 42 years, and you’ve done a great job, but I’d just like to see us move on and change.”

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