Palestine City Manager Michael Hornes said Wednesday the city will move forward with former City Manager Mike Alexander's $100,000 buyout, despite questions about whether Alexander violated the contract when the city of Forney hired him on Oct. 3.
Questions also remain about whether Alexander informed the city of Forney that he's not taking the job as its interim city manager. The job in Forney, 100 miles north of Palestine, was scheduled to start next Monday.
Hornes told the Herald-Press on Wednesday he received a call from Alexander on Tuesday. Hornes said Alexander told him he had called the city of Forney and SGR to tell them he was not taking the job.
“I was told (by Alexander that) he did not take the offer,” Hornes said. “We are moving forward, as if our contract is still in effect.”
Forney city officials, however, told the Herald-Press on Tuesday and Wednesday they received no phone call from Alexander, rejecting the job.
On Tuesday, Forney Secretary Dorothy Brooks said Alexander would start his job with Forney on Monday.
“He is our interim city manager,” Brooks said.
On Wednesday, Forney Public Information Officer Kyle Rouvald said he had not received, or heard about, a call from Alexander to Forney. He referred all questions to SGR, the management consulting firm that recommended Alexander for the Forney job.
Calls to Lori Philyaw, an SGR spokesperson, were not returned. Attempts to reach Alexander was unsuccessful.
Hornes said the city will enforce the contract council approved on Sept. 25.
“We are going to move forward with our leadership plan, and schedule with Mike to do the leadership classes,” Hornes said.
The agreement gives Alexander $100,000 over the next year for consulting services. The contract refers to the agreement as a “buyout.”
The contract reads: “If employee is gainfully employed professionally by another organization as an employee this agreement will terminate and any future payments will cease. Continued consulting through Lion Leadership Institute or Command Presence Inc., as has been performed by employee, does not constitute employment as provided by this section.
The contract modified Alexander's original contract, which paid him $150,000 a year as city manager. That contract was set to run until Sept. 30, 2018, but Alexander officially resigned on Sept. 11.
When Alexander announced his resignation from the city of Palestine on Sept. 11, he told the council he wanted to return to his home in the Austin area.