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April 7th, 2010
Mattis resigns as Kyle city manager

Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis (right) is consoled by Kyle City Attorney Barney Knight after the city council voted to accept Mattis' resignation Tuesday night. PHOTO by SEAN KIMMONS

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.

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10 thoughts on “Mattis resigns as Kyle city manager

  1. I don’t know that much about Mattis or his problem with the council – but a quartet-million bucks to have a fresh start?? Was it that bad??

  2. Jason Welch is wrong. Again.

    The City Manager received the money regardless of whether he quit, was fired, or forced to resign, or resigned on his own (guess that would be called quitting).

    If anyone is upset about this, then talk to the City Council members who were on the Council when his new contract was signed. You might start with the former mayor, Mike Gonzalez, whose signature is on the contract.

    But it is my perception that this kind of clause is typical of such contracts.

  3. I can’t say as I ahve never negoitiated a public servants emplooyment contract, but I would think quitting to go to another job would void future salary.

    At least if I had any say on the employers part.

  4. I agree with you Winchester! Too bad our former mayor – Mike Gonzalez – apparently didn’t agree with us. But then, maybe he just didn’t bother reading it…

  5. LILA have you seen the city mags contract is was written by the legal department not mayor Gonzalez .

    the mayor is only a fiqurehead in kyle the mayor signs the city mags contract with the approval of the council . and wasnt tom employed before MIKE was mayor ?
    takes the majority of the sity council to fire the city magr and the majority of the city council to hire one .

    CITY CHARTER

    be, and shall be known as, the “councilmanager”
    form of
    government. Pursuant to the provisions of, and subject only to the
    limitations imposed by, the state constitution, state laws, and
    this charter, all powers of the city shall be vested in and
    exercised by an elective governing body, hereinafter referred to as
    the “city council” or “council”. The council shall enact
    legislation, adopt budgets, determine policies, make appointments
    to positions as provided herein, and appoint the city manager who
    shall execute the laws and administer the government of the city.

  6. A new contract was signed in early 2008. It was substantially different from the first. But I do agree – it is the responsibility of the entire City Council.

  7. Going with the flow.

    “Lila Knight says:
    April 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I agree with you Winchester! Too bad our former mayor – Mike Gonzalez – apparently didn’t agree with us. But then, maybe he just didn’t bother reading it…

    lilaknight says:
    April 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    A new contract was signed in early 2008. It was substantially different from the first. But I do agree – it is the responsibility of the entire City Council.”

    Lila, notice how your handle changed between posts? They aren’t the same. They should be.

  8. As usual Charles, your sleuthing leaves much to desire. When the SM Mercury site changed addresses, I had to sign in again to post. I didn’t use capital letters this time as I did in the past.

    sorry to disappoint you that there is not a conspiracy here. Same me. Same name. Just a bit different due to my lazy fingers.

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