In spite of published reports regarding problems in previous positions as city administrator in other municipalities, the Stephenville City Council is moving ahead with the transition from Interim City Administrator Wayne McKethan to Allen Barnes who has been hired to fill the position permanently.
The E-T was contacted by email Monday by Stephenville resident and financial advisor Cary Strohmeyer who said, “The Stephenville City Council has had more than a year to hire a new city manager — why would they hire someone who was investigated and released from his last position?”
Strohmeyer also included links to published news stories regarding Barnes. The following are excerpts from two of those articles:
• The Dallas Morning News: Sachse takes first steps in city manager search, by Ray Leszcynski, March 2011: “Allen Barnes was looking at leaving Sachse, but his hastily written resignation as city manager indicates that wasn’t entirely on his terms.
“According to Barnes, Sachse’s ideal candidate will be one without further aspirations. ‘They felt they needed a city manager who was not ready to take the next step in their career. I believe one of the primary motivating factors on the part of [the Sachse] council’s decision was that I had applied for employment with two other cities.’ “
“Barnes’ contract called for a 60-day notice and no severance pay if he resigned. After nearly four hours of closed session evaluation, the council agreed that he will instead receive six months pay — a little more than $50,000, the same amount as if he had been fired.”
• The Gonzales Inquirer: Gonzales council places City Manager Allen Barnes on administrative leave, by Jose Torres, Sept. 28, 2016: “The Gonzales City Council met in an emergency meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 28 to discuss placing City Manager Allen Barnes on administrative leave with pay.
“On the agenda was a discussion to place Barnes on administrative leave with pay until the council is able to conduct an investigation on the case.
“When Mayor Connie Kacir asked if there was any discussion, District 5 Councilman Lorenzo Hernandez asked on the reasoning behind the administrative leave.
“‘I have received numerous complaints that involve unacceptable conduct with our city employees,’ Kacir explained. ‘Based on this information, I would like to take action on this agenda item to uphold what is in the best interest of our employees and the city.’
“Hernandez pushed on, saying he’s always been one to go with the best interest of the city. ‘Having said that, I feel like Mr. Barnes is not getting a fair shake on this deal,’ he said.
“Kacir then clarified saying that she feels that the council will ‘move forward in an equitable and fair manner.’
“[Councilman] Opielia also mentioned the importance of fairness on all parties, stating that he wanted to make sure Barnes was given a fair investigation.
“After calling for a vote, [council members] Schurig, Opiela and Kacir voted for while Hernandez voted against. The motion passed.
“City Council also voted to retain the law firm of Denton, Rocha, Bernal, Hyde & Zech P.C. as special counsel to assist in completing the investigation.”
In a statement to the E-T on the status of things with the city council and the transition to Barnes as permanent city administrator, Mayor Kenny Weldon said Monday that the council is sticking by its decision to hire Barnes, and that they will meet [in closed executive session] Tuesday night to talk about the transition.
“There were some emails and Facebook, stuff flying around [last week] that caused us to make sure that the background we had on [Barnes] was correct," Weldon said.
Weldon went on to say he has no concerns about Barnes and believes he is the right person for the job.