By CRISTIN REECE
Palestine City Council members appointed an interim city manager after holding a three-hour long closed meeting on Monday.
Palestine Economic Development Director Wendy Ellis will take over as interim city manager after current City Manager Mike Ohrt leaves the position next month.
“I’m extremely honored the council trusts me enough to even think of me in this position,” Ellis said. “I respect the work Mike has done and continues to do and I’m going to do the best I can to continue to keep the positive energy flowing.”
Ohrt tendered his resignation to council members last week, after accepting the city manager’s job in Wills Point.
“It wasn’t a unanimous decision,” Mayor Therrell Thomas said Tuesday. “And we’re still walking through the process (of searching for a permanent city manager), but I’m more than confident Wendy will do an excellent job.”
During the meeting, council members requested the presence of City Attorney Ronald Stutes. They also asked Ohrt and Ellis to join them behind closed doors, on separate occasions.
“I think Wendy can and will do a terrific job for the city,” Ohrt said. “I’ve worked with her for years and she’s a great asset to the community.”
Ohrt’s last day at the city of Palestine is July 15. Ellis should be set to take over at that time, Thomas said.
“It was a long meeting,” Councilman Mark Price said. “But we discussed all our options and looked at all the city’s department heads. Mike had done a terrific job and I think Wendy is an excellent choice. I see bright things ahead.”
Council members opened Monday’s special meeting, which had been called to address Ohrt’s replacement, and immediately retired into closed session. Subchapter D of chapter 551 of the Texas Government Code allows the council to meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters.