Updated July 8, 11:24 a.m.
Following Missouri City City Council's early morning July 7 vote to offer Odis Jones the job of city manager, Community Impact Newspaper spoke with three members of City Council who do not agree with the majority of council’s decision.
Council Members Jeffrey Boney, Anthony Maroulis and Floyd Emery all said they have been concerned about the entirety of the city manager selection process, expressing a desire for a broader solicitation and the inclusion of the public and city staff.
“I believed from the onset this was just not the way that we needed to select and choose the person that was going to be running the day-to-day operations in our city as the CEO,” Boney said. “I felt like there had to be more checks and balances, kicking the tires, squeezing the fruit, crossing the t's and dotting the i's,so that we can make sure that we've made the best decision for the taxpayers of Missouri City.”
Boney and Emery voted against the motion to hire Jones, while Maroulis abstained from the vote, an action he said he took to show his opposition to both the candidate and the search process.
“My action to walk away from the dais was to show my strong opposition,” Maroulis said. “A vote 'no' to a candidate was simply not enough for me.”
Boney said while the council was meeting in executive session July 6, Mayor Yolanda Ford announced they would be interviewing the city manager candidates. In a split vote June 24, a majority of council voted to interview the top two finalists, but the date of the interviews was not announced publicly.
“It was an ‘aha’ moment because I had no idea we would be interviewing any city manager candidates [at the July 6 meeting],” Boney said.
Boney said after council interviewed Jones, the mayor said the other candidate withdrew their application, leaving Jones as the sole finalist.
Ford, along with the three other members of City Council who voted to hire Jones as the city manager, did not respond to Community Impact Newspaper’s request for comment as of press time.
Jones previously served as the city manager of Hutto in the Austin area. He agreed to a $412,000 severance package with the city of Hutto in November.
While he was slated to stay on as a consultant to see through a $800 million mixed-use development in the city, council unanimously voted to end his consulting agreement in December, an action Jones said he requested.
After council’s July 7 vote, the city will extend the job offer to Jones. If he accepts, the contract negotiation period will begin.
Emery said during the contract negotiation process, he will push for a 140-day probation period and no severance pay unless Jones stays with the city for a year. Emery said he believes these are typical and appropriate contract stipulations, but he is unsure the majority of council and Jones will agree to them.
Jones has not returned Community Impact Newspaper’s calls as of press time.
Posted July 7, 7:28 a.m.
In a 4-2 vote July 7, Missouri City City Council voted to hire Odis Jones as the city’s next city manager.
Mayor Yolanda Ford and council will extend the job offer to Jones and begin the contract negotiation period if he accepts the position, Ford said.
Jones previously served as the city manager for the city of Hutto, Texas, from 2016-2020 and has experience as the executive director of economic and community development for the city of Cincinnati, according to his application for the position, which Community Impact Newspaper obtained through an open records request.
Prior to the vote, Council convened in closed session for nearly three hours. Then, just after midnight July 7, Council Member Vashaundra Edwards made the motion to appoint Jones as the city’s next city manager.
“We had a plethora of well-qualified candidates, and we actually, in my opinion, saved the city a lot of money by taking the time to interview them and go through their applications, weeding those out who don't qualify,” Edwards said. “I feel as if we did a great job sifting out who was qualified to be our next city manager.”
Edwards, Ford, Mayor Pro Tem Chris Preston and Council Member Cheryl Sterling voted in favor of hiring Jones. Council members Jeffrey Boney and Floyd Emery voted against the motion. Prior to the vote, Council Member Anthony Maroulis announced he will be “stepping away from the dias,” and did not participate in the vote.
Boney, Emery and Maroulis have expressed discontent with the city manager hiring process from the beginning. Missouri City is in need of city manager after voting to remove Anthony Snipes from the role in February.
“I just want to make sure that I stated again that the process by which this city manager search was performed was completely—in my opinion—flawed,” Boney said. “This has been completely concerning for me, and I am completely against it.”
Boney also said he was unaware council would be conducting the final interviews for the city manager position during the July 6 meeting and said one of the council’s top two candidates had decided to remove their name from the process. Council had previously voted to move forward with a final round of interviews for the two finalists for the position, but the interview times had not been publicly announced.
“The process now all of a sudden changed,” Boney said. “All of a sudden, an interview was held without any notification or any awareness that it would be taking place today at X time.”
Ford said she supported hiring Jones for the position because he is a licensed city manager.
“I think we had a very good bunch of candidates who applied,” Ford said. “I know for me, when I picked my top five, I was specifically looking for licensed candidates for the very reason of them coming in with experience already and understanding the city manager role.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.