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Tue March 2, 2010
Council to evaluate, possibly dismiss city manager
By Scott Harvey
Commerce – For the second time since September, the Commerce City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and discuss, possibly discipline or even dismiss City Manager Dion Miller.
Councilwoman Billie Biggerstaff requested the items be placed on the agenda, indicating the city manager has displayed a lack of leadership, people skills and methods of management. Upon contact, Biggerstaff declined further comment on the three items, indicating she would rather reserve comment until Thursday.
Last fall, Tony Henry made the request, citing several occasions of concern which included a failure by Miller to review and execute checks issued by the city, failure to pursue a water contract with Texas A&M University-Commerce, plus failure to seek council consent for contracts with outside contractors.
During that meeting, Miller provided several documents to back the allegations and also received support from a majority of citizens who spoke during the public hearing.
Citizens siding with Miller felt the allegations were small in nature and seemed fixable while comments against cited a lack of pay raises for police officers and too much money being spent on street improvement studies but no actual improvements made to date.
In the end, no action was taken.
It takes a three-fifths majority vote to suspend Miller, according to Miller's contract. The contract did not list a suspension length. The city's charter indicates a four-fifths majority is required to dismiss a city manager.
Earlier this year, council voted 3-1 to approve a recommendation by the Charter Review Committee which would, if approved by voters in May, gives council the option of removing its city manager by a three-fifths rather than the current fourth-fifths majority vote. Mayor Quay Throgmorton voted against the measure, indicating the change could more easily lead to "removal based on personality conflicts rather than job performance." Bob Monday was not present.
Miller was hired as city manager in July 2008.
The meeting and public hearing regarding his status with the city will take place Thursday at 5 p.m. at City Hall, as Tuesday's regular session has been postponed due to the election.