City of Nederland Logo
City of Nederland Don Albanese, Mayor
Billy Neal, Mayor Pro Tem
Talmadge Austin, Councilmember
Emmett Hollier, Councilmember
Sylvia Root, Councilmember
Christopher Duque, City Manager

P.O. Box 967 * Nederland, Texas 77627 * 409.723.1503 * Fax 409.723.1550
 

Meeting Minutes from Monday, June 27, 2005

REGULAR MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE

CITY OF NEDERLAND

6:00 p.m. June 27, 2005
  1. MEETING

    The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor R. A. Nugent at the Nederland City Office Building, 1400 Boston Avenue, Nederland, Texas. See attached for quorum.

  2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

    A motion was made by Mayor Pro Tem Neal and seconded by Councilmember Griffin to approve the minutes of the June 13, 2005 meeting as written. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

  3. BIDS/PROPOSALS

    A motion was made by Councilmember Rogers and seconded by Councilmember Sheffield to accept a proposal from Thomason Enterprises for the demolition of structures located at 3415 Nashville Avenue; 304 Nederland Avenue (to the slab only); and, 819 Chicago Avenue in the amount of $9,145.00. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

  4. STREETS AND SIDEWALKS

    A motion was made by Mayor Pro Tem Neal and seconded by Councilmember Rogers to approve payment for street repairs associated with a Jefferson County Drainage District No. 7 project in the amount of $9,240.00. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

  5. CONTRACTS/AGREEMENTS

    A motion was made by Mayor Pro Tem Neal and seconded by Councilmember Sheffield to approve Amendment #1 to the Advance Funding Agreement between the Texas Department of Transportation and the City of Nederland for the Boston Avenue pavement restoration project. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

    A motion was made by Councilmember Sheffield and seconded by Mayor Nugent to approve an agreement with RDK Truck Sales and Rentals for rental of a trash truck in the amount of $5,500.00/month, contingent upon final approval of the agreement by the City Attorney. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

  6. SOUTHEAST TEXAS REGIONAL AIRPORT

    Andre' Wimer, City Manager, explained that the item to discuss fire protection at the Southeast Texas Regional Airport was placed on the agenda at the request of the Council during the last meeting. He stated that this was a result of a comment made by Jefferson County Judge Carl Griffith regarding the possible annexation of the airport fire department by the City of Nederland or the City of Port Arthur. Mr. Wimer added that this possibility was researched by City staff several years ago and at that time it was discovered that FAA regulations require fire fighting personnel be on site at all times. Expenditures would be $500,000 to $600,000 per year and the property would be nontaxable, therefore, the burden would be placed on our citizens. He stated that he could set up a meeting between the Judge Griffith, City Council, and the NEDC Director if they would like to further discuss the issue with the County. Councilmember Neal stated that due to the expected growth in the area he would at least like to discuss the possibility with them. Mr. Wimer stated that he would try to arrange a meeting as soon as possible.

  7. APPOINTMENTS

    A motion was made by Councilmember Sheffield and seconded by Mayor Nugent to appoint Robert Sawyer to the Planning and Zoning Commission to fill an unexpired term through June 30, 2006. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

    A motion was made by Mayor Pro Tem Neal and seconded by Councilmember Sheffield to appoint Guy Barlow to the Zoning Board of Appeals/Trailer Park Board of Appeals for a four-year term, beginning July 1, 2005 and ending June 30, 2009. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

    A motion was made by Councilmember Griffin and seconded by Councilmember Rogers to approve the following appointments to the Construction Board of Appeals: Boyd Meier, Steve Gentile, and Ron Minaldi to a two (2) year term beginning July 1, 2005 and ending June 30, 2007; and, Danny Delahoussaye to a one (1) year term beginning July 1, 2005 and ending June 30, 2006. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

    A motion was made by Mayor Pro Tem Neal and seconded by Mayor Nugent to appoint George Eisenmann to the Firefighters' Civil Service Commission for a three (3) year term beginning July 1, 2005 and ending June 30, 2008. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

  8. FIRE CHIEF/FIRE MARSHALL

    Andre' Wimer, City Manager, stated that Fire Chief/Fire Marshall Mike Lovelady requested that his review be conducted in open session. Mr. Wimer added that all Council appointments expire on June 30th of each year and the remainder of appointees have elected to conduct their reviews in Executive Session. He stated that the action placing Chief Lovelady on paid administrative leave began almost a year ago with the opening of the Command Van Account. Subsequent to that there were other concerns by Council that resulted in the leave. Two separate investigation were performed by an independent firm, Clawson & Associates. The first investigation pertained to the unauthorized opening of the bank account and the second an overall evaluation of the Fire Department, its personnel, and policies and procedures.

    Mike Clawson, Clawson & Associates, briefly reviewed his findings of the two investigations. He stated that the City engaged his services to investigate claims and threatened litigation brought against the City by the Nederland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. Specifically, that Nederland Fire Chief Mike Lovelady and Assistant Fire Chief Gary Collins opened and utilized Wells Fargo Account #795-1065162 in the name of NVFD and without the express or implied consent of the NVFD. Mr. Clawson determined that the account was opened without authorization and by doing so violated State statutes and Home Rule Charter provisions. The second investigation was to conduct a field study of personnel and operational issues that surfaced within the Nederland Fire Department. He was requested to interview any and all full-time personnel within the Department who desired to express any recommendations, concerns, complaint or general gripe regarding operations, activities or procedures. Mr. Clawson reported that he interviewed twelve members of the Department, adding that Chief Lovelady declined to be interviewed on the record. Upon conclusion of this investigation Mr. Clawson stated the Department is facing a leadership crisis.

    Fire Chief/Fire Marshall Mike Lovelady read a prepared statement to Council. He stated that he requested an open hearing because he feels he has not been afforded a fair evaluation of his job performance. He believes that his work record should speak for itself and not by hearsay of the Fire Department personnel and outside sources.

    Mayor Pro Tem Neal asked Chief Lovelady if he would consider retiring and he responded that he would not.

    Edward Fontenot, 620 - 9th Street, addressed the Council as the husband of the Fire Department secretary who was the subject of one of the anonymous letters. He asked about the status of the investigation to determine the author who made racial slurs about Mrs. Fontenot.

    Mr. Hughes, City Attorney, responded that the investigation is ongoing to determine the author. Due to the fact that they were submitted anonymously a more in depth investigation will be necessary. The City has a legal obligation to continue their efforts in this matter to ensure that the Department does not constitute a hostile work environment.

    Glenn Crorey, Beaumont, TX, spoke as a past Nederland firefighter and a friend of Chief Lovelady and asked that Council to consider his past experience and all he has done for the fire service in Nederland.

    Albert Rienstra, 819 South 12th Street, asked the Council if Chief Lovelady was incapable why did they wait 30 years to solve the problem. He added that perhaps the Council should be considered incapable.

    John Williams, 403 South 1st Street, asked that all parties take a step back to look at the process and determine if Chief Lovelady has been provided common courtesy and due process. He added that he does not know if the evidence would support what is happening today and that if one does not exist a job description should be provided and reviewed along with evaluations. Mr. Williams urged Council to ensure that Chief Lovelady has been afforded the opportunity to defend himself.

    Debbie Violette, P. O. Box 2113, Nederland, stated that she has known Chief Lovelady for years and feels he is a loyal City employee and does not deserve the treatment he is receiving.

    Councilmember Rogers stated that he also has known Chief Lovelady for several years, but that he has been provided with due process and has spent over 10 hours in Executive Session with Council discussing their concerns with him. He added that Chief Lovelady was provided with progressive forms of discipline.

    A motion was made by Councilmember Rogers and seconded by Mayor Nugent that effective at 12:01 a.m., July 1, 2005, all administrative pay to Mike Lovelady will cease and that he not be reappointed to the position of Fire Chief/Fire Marshall. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

    Councilmember Sheffield stated that although he was only elected during the May 7th election he voted the way he did because of all the evidence he had been provided. He found it difficult that with all the anonymous letters Chief Lovelady solicited there were no positive remarks submitted.

    Mayor Nugent responded that Mr. Lovelady is an excellent firefighter, but the Council has lost all confidence in him as a department head.

  9. EXECUTIVE SESSION

    The regular meeting was recessed at 6:55 p.m. by Mayor Nugent for the purpose of conducting an Executive Session as authorized by Texas Government Code, Chapter 551.074, discuss personnel appointments - City Clerk, Director of Finance, Police Chief, City Judge, and City Attorney; Chapter 551.072, discuss acquisition, exchange, sale, and/or release of property; and Chapter 551.071, City of Nederland v. Entergy Gulf States, Entergy, Inc. and Entergy Services, Inc., appeal of Texas Gas Service Company from ratesetting actions of the Cities of Nederland, Port Neches, and Groves; and, consultation with City Attorney

  10. RECONVENE

    The regular meeting was reconvened at 7:24 p.m. by Mayor Nugent.

  11. PUBLIC OFFICIALS

    A motion was made by Mayor Pro Tem Neal and seconded by Mayor Nugent to authorize the following appointments: LaDonna Floyd, City Clerk; Cheryl Dowden, Director of Finance; Darrell Bush, Chief of Police; John Borne, City Judge; and, Richard Hughes, City Attorney. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

  12. PUBLIC OFFICIALS' COMMENTS

    Andre' Wimer, City Manager, reported that the Avenue H crossing project by Drainage District No. 7 will result in the street closure for quite some time. The City will observe Independence Day on Monday, July 4th, therefore, garbage service will be provided one day later for all customers.

    Mayor Nugent reported that he attended a meeting along with the City Manager and City Clerk at the Jefferson County Commissioner's workshop regarding the new election system that will be installed prior to January 1, 2006.

  13. ADJOURN

    There being no further business a motion was made by Councilmember Sheffield and seconded by Councilmember Griffin to adjourn the meeting at 7:30 p.m. MOTION CARRIED.
    Ayes: Mayor Nugent, Councilmembers Sheffield, Neal, Griffin, and Rogers.
    Noes: None.

END Meeting Minutes from Monday, June 27, 2005


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