by SEAN KIMMONS
About a month after booting Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis off the dais, the Kyle City Council voted to accept his resignation Tuesday night, but not without a cost.
The council voted 5-2 to honor Mattis’ accepted resignation, subject to auditing and verification, which would require the city to fork over $200,000 to $250,000 in termination pay. Councilmembers Michelle Lopez and David Wilson dissented.
The annual salary, plus benefits, for Mattis is about $179,600.
Questions have risen about Mattis and his strong leadership role in the city, with power struggles between him and the council. Among those who approved the motion were a newly elected mayor and two new councilmembers, who helped tilt the control back into council hands as they prepare to deal with a rapid growing city.
“I’m really appreciative with the years of work that the city manager has put into the city,” said Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson. “I know the effort that he has exerted for his job has been tremendous.
“The city manager’s relationship with the city council is important no matter who the manager happens to be,” she continued. “Without going into great detail, I feel that the council has decided that it’s time for that relationship to come to an end.”
Mattis issued a written statement after the motion passed.
“I am very proud of our service to the city of Kyle. We made history,” he said. “Our team achieved heights never before seen in Kyle – which will never be repeated in any 8 year period. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity.”
Mattis has applied for an open city manager position in Harlingen, according to Harlingen city officials, who didn’t say when they plan to select a candidate.
Before the vote, Councilmember Wilson spoke up for Mattis and his dealings within Kyle.
He mentioned the FM 1626 construction, along with its ongoing commercial development, as one of his successes.
“Tom was a key player, maybe the glue in making that happen,” he said. “Without that, there would be no Seton hospital.”
And with population estimates projected to surpass 90,000 residents by 2040, more than triple the current population, these types of projects seem to be just the beginning.
“I’m not in favor in accepting this motion at this particular time because I think that we have more to do,” Wilson said. “However, I fully understand that there are members of this council that feel that we need a fresh start.”
Lopez also shared her opinion of Mattis as she opposed the motion.
“I firmly believe that throughout the city manager’s tenure here in the city of Kyle he has followed every direction that the council has put forth,” she said. “It’s about an issue of relationships. It would not be in the city’s best interest to vote for this.”
In 2002, Mattis came into a troubled city that had permitted more growth than it had the water to provide, pushing the council to impose a building moratorium while infrastructure construction caught up with growth.
City managers are frequently lighting rods for controversy and Mattis’ strong personality gained him both supporters and enemies over his eight years — an exceptionally long term of service in a position that typically has quick turnover.
The city council plans to hold a special meeting this 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to select an interim city manager.
SEAN KIMMONS is a senior reporter at the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the Mercury.Email | Print