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May 17, 2013

City Council to meet in special session Monday

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council intends Monday to name a temporary replacement for former city manager Steven Alexander.

The Council is scheduled to consider appointing an interim city manager during a special session Monday evening, at which time the Council also plans to address some last minute measures allegedly taken by Alexander after his contract was terminated Tuesday night.

The Council is set to meet for a special session at 5 p.m. Monday in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. The Council intends to move into executive session under Section 551.074 of the Local Government Code, which allows the Council “to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee; or to hear a complaint or charge against an officer or employee.”

The first item under the executive session concerns a discussion of the appointment of an interim city manager.

The Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to terminate Alexander’s contract. Alexander is currently under a 30-day paid suspension — which officially began when he received his termination letter Wednesday — prior to the termination taking effect. Director of Human Resources Barry Robinson has served as interim city manager following the departure of the prior two city managers, Ed Thatcher and Karen Daly.

A second item during the executive session, also under Section 551.074, concerns the reorganization of both the Parks and Recreation Department and the Greenville Police Department.

Mayor Steve Reid said Friday that the item is in response to actions taken by Alexander.

“It appears that prior to Steve leaving his position Tuesday evening ... he added a job description to each department and then gave out raises,” Reid said.

He noted Animal Control was added to the direction Police Chief Daniel J. Busken while the position of venue manager for the Greenville Municipal Auditorium was placed under the authority of Parks and Recreation Director Colby VanGundy.

Reid said Alexander authorized raises for Busken and VanGundy, “I guess apparently to compensate them for the additional job descriptions. They had no idea the raises were coming. They didn’t want them.”

Reid said the item was added to Monday’s executive session, “So that the chief and Colby can tell the rest of the Council what they told me.”

Busken confirmed Alexander had added the job description to his office, but said it was a move which had been planned for a while.

“That’s what my understanding of the situation was, which is something that had been talked about with the city manager for quite some time,” Busken said.

Alexander could not be reached for comment Friday.

Should the Council take any action concerning the appointment of an interim city manager, or the reorganizations of the police or parks and recreation departments, it would return to open session to do so.

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