Conroe City Council is slated to vote during a closed executive session Aug. 11 on two items relating to terminating contracts with City Administrator Paul Virgadamo Jr. and Chief Financial Officer Steve Williams. It was not immediately clear whether another vote would take place in a public setting.
The agendas for the Aug. 10-11 council workshop and regular meeting were updated Aug. 6, according to Virgadamo and Mayor Jody Czajkoski, with two items to consider terminating contracts with Virgadamo and Williams. The items were placed on the agenda by council members Marsha Porter and Howard Wood.
The items also include approving an interim city administrator and CFO, but names of potential candidates had not been released as of publication.
During a phone interview Aug. 6, Virgadamo said he was unaware of any discussion regarding his termination. He said during his annual performance review in May—where he claimed Porter was present—no concerns regarding his ability to perform his job were discussed. Virgadamo said throughout his years of service he had not received any indication on his records for poor performance.
Virgadamo has worked for the city for 25 years, he said.
Council discussed termination of the contracts in both open and closed sessions during the workshop Aug. 10.
As such, during the Aug. 10 workshop meeting, members of the community spoke against terminating the contracts during the public comment period. Former City Council members, spouses of former council members and individuals who have worked with Virgadamo expressed their objection for the termination.
“What is the message you are sending?” Conroe resident Tim Kemrite said during the public comment period. “Work hard, do a great job and if somebody doesn’t like what you do, you’re gone.”
During the workshop meeting, council members Porter, Hardman and Wood said their desire to terminate Virgadamo was related to a lack of communication between Virgadamo and the council members. According to Porter during the meeting, Virgadamo’s lack of communication prevented her from doing her job.
During a phone call with Virgadamo after the workshop meeting Aug. 10, he said he was disappointed in council's decision and believes this is due to politics.
“[I am] very disappointed in the leadership of some of the City Council members and for them to treat a 25-year employee like this says a lot about their character,” Virgadamo said.
A vote on whether to terminate the contracts with the two employees is set to occur during executive session Aug. 11.
Porter and Wood had not responded to requests for comment as of Aug. 10. Williams did not attend the Aug. 10 workshop meeting.
This is a developing story.