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City administrator, city councilman submit resignations at Tuesday night's meeting
by Coy Slavik, Advance-Guard Editor
Jul 15, 2014 | 2137 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GOLIAD – Goliad City Administrator Larry Zermeno announced his resignation effective the end of July and, moments later, City Councilman Buddy Zavesky resigned effective immediately during Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

Zermeno, who was named city administrator in 2012, was to meet in executive session Tuesday night with Mayor Anna Lopez Machacek and city council, but chose to announce his resignation before a packed City Hall meeting room.

Zermeno said he could not work with Machacek and the city council, which is seeking to gain more control over city operations and personnel decisions.

"It's clear to me that you want to change the way the city administrator operates," Zermeno said.

The newly elected mayor and city councilpersons Joey Thompson and Cheryl Worley were supported by Goliad Citizens For Effective Government, a local political action committee. The three campaigned on making city government more transparent and efficient.

Zermeno had indicated to the mayor during a May city council meeting that he could not work under conditions in which the mayor and city council assumed administrative duties from the city administrator's job description.

"That's because I couldn't be responsible for things that occur if I didn't have operational control over the city," Zermeno said. "I've always been responsible. I always stood up and said I'm responsible."

City ordinance 2004-451, Section 3 states, "The City Administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the City and be responsible for planning, organization, management and operation of the City and such other duties and responsibilities as the Mayor and City Council may direct."

"I'm not sure why there's a misunderstanding in the way the city administrator/city manager is supposed to work," Zermeno said.

Machacek spoke with Victoria City Manager Charmelle Garrett and Port Lavaca City Manager Bob Turner to discuss Zermeno's role as city administrator.

"You asked (Garrett) how they operated and she told me that she indicated to you that she had operational control over everything in the city," Zermeno told Machacek. "The mayor and council are policy makers and decision makers and budget approvers. Basically, they give direction and make policy. Yet you insist that the statute says you are going to do the budget and do operations. I'm sure we follow the same statute that Victoria has.

"You also spoke to Bob Turner of Port Lavaca. He called me as well and said that you visited with him. He gave you the same advice. That's what he told me. He also told me that you felt like you were in over your head with some of the items, in particular the budget. I'm just telling you what they told me. It's their obligation to call me under their code of ethics."

Zermeno said he notified city employees of his decision Tuesday.

"If you want to continue in your direction, that's your prerogative," Zermeno told council. "But I also have a choice of whether I want to work in that environment and I choose not to. I am going to resign effective at the end of the month."

Councilwoman Cheryl Worley asked Zermeno to reconsider.

"I will say good luck to the city," Zermeno said. "I love the city of Goliad. I came here to serve. I encourage that you embrace this staff. I don't run the city. They make the city work."

Council unanimously accepted Zermeno's resignation.

"I do so with regret," Zavesky said.

Zavesky then read his resignation from a prepared statement.

"This will serve notice that effective today, I, Buddy Zavesky, will resign my position as City Alderman of the City of Goliad. It has been a long and gratifying time in this position. Things always change and for these reasons and many more it is time for me move along. I wish the city success in the future ad as always the best for the citizens I have served. Thanks again to very one who has made this journey one to remember, especially the former councils and staff for all the hard work and dedication."

Machacek said after the meeting that she was surprised by Zermeno's and Zavesky's resignations. Zavesky would not comment after the meeting.

Also on Tuesday night's agenda were items to give the council more authority on city service and purchase decisions.

Machacek proposed all services engaged by city personnel be pre-approved by council unless the service is required during an emergency affecting the public utilities, public health or public safety. Zavesky made the motion to take no action on the item. The motion was seconded by Councilman Joey Thompson and unanimously approved by council.

Council also voted unanimously to take no action on requiring any purchases greater than $5,000 receive pre-approval from council.

More on this story coming to mySouTex.com.

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