KENEDY – Four out of five Kenedy City Council members, along with the mayor, have complaints against them by City of Kenedy employees after a special meeting was held Oct. 28.

“We all agree council and the mayor have a specific legislative role in our local government,” Kenedy Mayor James Sutton said.

“We understand our legislative authority is possessed as a body, during an official meeting with motion of an agenda item and a second. 

“We all understand we’re not project inspectors nor are we employee supervisors. We all understand we have no authority over employees. Kenedy voters many years ago elected a council/manager form of government. 

“All city employees are under the direction of the city manager. No employee should have to go to work in fear of losing their job. No one should be harassed.”

Complaints from City of Kenedy employees have been addressed by Kenedy Interim City Manager Chris Bratton.

“I have spoken to several employees about complaints and am very comfortable with handling any employee complaint,” Bratton said. 

“Many times the employee complaint is based off of misinformation or a misunderstanding and this gives the city manager insight about how information is being passed from top levels of the organization down through the organization. 

“Without that feedback it would be easy to believe that information is moving as intended so the value is in gauging how effective internal communications are in moving up and down the chain of command.

“If they have a legitimate concern then I take that up with the affected parties and look for a resolution.”

Another agenda item regarding mileage being part of Max Westbrock Professional Services Agreement was discussed.

“The item was worded as a question for council consider/act on including mileage as part of a written executed agreement, which did not contain mileage,” Sutton said.

“In reality, prior to posting this agenda, the mayor specifically asked for an agenda item to ask council what authorized the billing and the payment of mileage in the agreement? 

“The mayor forwarded these questions and the executed agreement to the city attorney but did not receive a reply. 

“It appears all but one council member missed the principal of the question. They jumped immediately to ‘amending’ the agreement and offering up ‘mileage’ payments yet did not address the fact a bill was presented and paid without authorization by anyone.”

In other matters, a cost proposal for sports fields and site construction at the Larry Kiesling Youth Sports Complex using Hellas Construction approved.

The sports complex will provide fields for Kenedy ISD baseball and softball teams next season.

The projected completion date is Jan. 15, 2020, according to Sutton.

The agenda item regarding water audit settlements were discussed in a private session.

“The council opted to discuss settlements behind closed doors,” Sutton said.

“In 2018 we had Belt, Harris, Pechacek conduct an audit of our multi-user water accounts and 100 residential and non-residential water accounts. 

“The city replaced dated hardware and software creating a new metering and billing system. It’s been a year so council decided we need to check our work through additional auditing. Staff is contacting Belt and company for assistance.”

The City of Kenedy’s focus remains providing a quality water source for the citizens, according to Sutton.

“Our concern is accuracy of our own system from the moment the consumer receives service through the completion of rendering payment for those services and product. 

“Excessive billing and also underbillings are not right for anyone. This is a huge step towards improving consumer confidence.”

The city passed an acceptance bid for the Cottonwood Office Annex Building from W.P. Construction during the meeting.

“The city is constructing an additional building for mechanical and updated lab/offices,” Sutton said.

“The current office will become mechanical space.”

Lastly, an investigative report regarding a complaint, or charge against the city secretary was discussed in a closed session.

“No comment at this time on this specific item,” Sutton said.

The next scheduled city council meeting is set for Nov. 12.