Council votes down new GSMP contract

After months of discussion and more than 3 hours of contract amendments May 5 the Greater San Marcos Partnership and the city of San Marcos still do not have a contract in place.

Council members made line-by-line amendments to the contract during a 7-hour meeting May 5, but after all members had spoken their peace and agreed to take a vote, a majority still could not be reached to approve the new contract. Councilwomen Jane Hughson and Lisa Prewitt, along with councilmen Shane Scott and John Thomaides, voted against the contract.

“We went through all that work,” Mayor Daniel Guerrero said.  “Where does that leave us, Mr. Cosentino, if we went through 4.5 hours of work?”

City Attorney Michael Cosentino said the status quo—a month-to-month agreement with the partnership—is still in effect until a long-term contract is approved.

“I believe that leaves us tired,” Cosentino said.

The council may bring back the item in two weeks for a vote. The next City Council meeting is May 19.

“I’m willing to bring this back in two weeks,” Hughson said. “I’m not promising to change my vote, but maybe now that we’ve seen what’s in here there might be some other things we can agree on. We agreed on a lot.”

The amended contract included points from separate contracts developed by the GSMP and a City Council subcommittee composed of Guerrero, Prewitt and Thomaides.

Under the final version of the contract, which council did not approve, the partnership would have to disclose conflicts of interest to the city manager—one of the sticking points in the contract negotiations—but would not have to comply with the Texas Open Meetings Act. The group would also continue receiving $360,000 annually from the city. The contract would have expired April 30.

A spokesperson for the partnership said the GSMP continues to work toward workforce excellence, economic diversity and quality of place for the San Marcos region during the ongoing contract negotiations.

Hughson, Prewitt and Thomaides expressed concern about the organization’s transparency, but members of the partnership and council members Jude Prather, Shane Scott and Ryan Thomason, along with Mayor Daniel Guerrero, disagreed.

Another point of contention throughout the negotiations was the city’s ability to choose the partnership’s CEO, which Thomaides, Hughson and Prewitt were pushing for. Hays County Commissioner Will Conley, who presides over the GSMP board as chairman, said that kind of control would be unfair to other partnership members like Kyle, Hays County and Dripping Springs.

“I’m not familiar with Councilman Thomaides making that request for ... any of the many organizations that the city can fund, trying to get that deeply involved and that level of control in their governance and their executive bodies,” Conley said. “I find that to be really inconsistent and unheard of.”

Additional requirements laid out in the contract included requirements for the partnership to provide quarterly reports about workforce development efforts within the city and provide due diligence reports when presenting the city with economic development incentive prospects.

“I don’t think it’s a failure,” Prewitt said. “I think we’ve come a long way. We need to work a little more on it, and I think we’re just about there.”


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