The Palestine City Council voted to reappoint Wendy Ellis as Palestine City Manager during their bimonthly meeting Monday.
Council members Adam Harding of District 1, Vickey Chivers of District 3 and Vernon Denmon of District 2 voted in opposition.
Following motions made by Councilman Joseph Thompson of District 4, the council then authorized the city manager to enter into respective contracts with a search firm for an interim police chief and with a consulting firm regarding a community assessment with the new chief.
The council's actions came following a three-hour closed session regarding these matters. Prior to the session, the council held a public hearing and heard from five individuals — two in favor, three opposed to ratification of respective items.
Resident James Smith, opposed, said he was of the opinion that the city was“not in full compliance with the Texas Open Meetings law requirement,” referencing Section 551 denoting “Personnel Matters” of a closed meeting.
“Tonight you have on the agenda a ratification to try and correct a violation of these government codes,” he said.
Leon Wilhite, a member of the Palestine Rotary Club, however, advised the council to ratify appointment of Ellis' contract in order to allow her to continue with progress in the community.
Wilhite said that through his career he has worked with several city councils and found the position on council to be a challenging job. But since moving back to Palestine years ago, Wilhite said he has witnessed a positive change in the city since Ellis got involved.
“Successful cities have a good city manager with leadership skills, and there's continuity,” Wilhite said. “She was able to work with (Palestine Economic Development) and with the city at all levels, and we found shortly after her move to the city manager's office that she was able to develop a team approach, and there's been a real good working relationship there.”