The Pearland City Council agreed to remove Clay Pearson and seek a replacement city manager following a property value assessment error that was missed by city officials and eventually caused a budgetary crisis.

After a closed executive session Nov. 21, the Pearland City Council reconvened to terminate the employment of Pearson effective immediately, appointing Deputy City Manager Trent Epperson to the role of interim city manager.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the motion. Pearson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Pearson’s removal was at the end of a regular meeting where the council discussed plans to address Pearland’s roughly $10 million deficit caused by the worksheet error. Pearson was not present at the meeting for the discussion and was out of the country at the time, according to an email from him shared by Council Member Alex Kamkar.

In an effort to seek accountability for the error, City Council also approved a motion at the meeting to engage with an independent third party that will “review and prepare a written forensic audit with respect to the role of the parties and processes involved with the city’s fiscal year [2022-]2023 budget process.”

Pearson has served as the city manager for Pearland since March 2014. He has nearly 25 years of experience with municipal government, including eight years as the city manager of Novi, Michigan, according to the city of Pearland's website.

The Pearland City Council appoints its city manager position. Its website states that “the various operations of the entire city municipal government are accountable to the city manager.”