City manager leaves mid-meeting, interrupts several points

A number of talking points were postponed by Acting Mayor Vidal Rodriguez and council members due to the abrupt and surprising departure of Acting City Manager Samuel Keith Selman during the City Council meeting.

Selman returned to the meeting approximately two hours later during the open court portion of the meeting. However, the departures outside the chamber of the elected representatives of the Sof, the mayor and the general manager were observed and discussed during a public hearing.

Shortly after a number of recognitions were made, Mayor Pete Saenz announced that he would be leaving shortly to be part of the reception of TX Dot representatives at the La Posada hotel. He said Selman was also expected, and the two left soon after.

The two items under discussion were an action to direct Selman to put in place an action plan to ensure staff accountability and to ask him to provide a progress report on the capital improvement plan projects put in place. in place at a workshop in 2021. Rodriguez emphasized that despite the change of city manager, city staff were available to communicate progress on district projects.

It is important to note that due to technical difficulties which postponed the first April meeting, the Tuesday meeting was filled with two agendas and time is a factor on what is discussed and for how long. Upon his return, two public comments were read for a public hearing that castigated Mayor Pete Saenz’s absence from their previous public comments and called it disrespectful to leave in the middle of a comment.

Council member Alberto Torres referenced Selman’s departure, saying it was rare for a city manager to leave mid-meeting for a hospitality event that only the mayor could have attended. In response, the presiding council members offered to revert to items that depended on Selman’s attendance if he arrived before the meeting was over.

However, after Selman’s return, the items were still not covered and the meeting moved on to items such as a tennis court renaming and traffic issues. Later in the meeting, the council member discussed possible action to establish goals, priorities and performance measures for the interim city manager.

According to Torres, the article was not based on dissatisfaction, but to provide continuity with management. He said it was a regular feature that seeks to establish an informal retreat to formally discuss city priorities, especially projects. Some discussed the binational park and bridge expansions, but Torres said he would like the meeting to focus on more priorities, as Selman’s term is apparently expected to last more than 20 months.

Selman said the retreat could be held within the next three weeks, before the board embarks on the budget process. According to the like, Torres said he believes he’s not the only one worried about Selman’s goals and performance metrics.

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