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Section A: General News


Floresville citizens address council, defend city manager


Floresville citizens address council, defend city manager
City employees and citizens pack the council chamber to standing-room-only capacity Jan. 29 during a special called meeting of the Floresville City Council.


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Wilson County News
February 6, 2013
3,948 views
11 comments

FLORESVILLE -- Andy Joslin will continue his term as Floresville City Manager, following a Jan. 29 special called meeting of the Floresville City Council.

Tension flowed through the council chambers as dozens of city employees and supporters of Joslin -- wearing green T-shirts emblazoned with “I Built” -- filled the room.

As Mayor Diana Garza opened the floor for citizens’ comments, several members of the community presented their thoughts regarding Joslin’s employment and the reasons for the city’s insolvency.

Former Finance Director Sidonna Faust was among those who came to Joslin’s defense.

“I remember a time a former finance manager came into my office and gave me direction to give four individuals raises in excess of 30 percent of the current salary,” Faust said. “Ironically, three of those individuals were relatives of current council members.”

Faust offered advice to the city council, stating that political spending against the recommendation of city staff was to blame for the financial situation.

“Many times, suggestions were made to raise rates -- water rates, increase permit fees, utility rates, property taxes -- so additional revenue could be raised to offset rising costs,” Faust said. “When you don’t increase revenues, but yet costs are increasing, a deficit will occur. What amazed me most was the direction by council to continue the political spending. Almost $400,000 of expenses -- unbudgeted, may I add -- spent on audit after audit, legal fee after legal fee, attempting to blame former staff for the financial deficit.”

A portion of the expenses referred to by Faust were for the 2010-11 city audit, which revealed several material weaknesses and a lack of understanding by staff of basic, fundamental accounting procedures.

The audit confirmed that those handling the city’s finances had not reconciled many accounts and had misplaced funds in incorrect accounts to the degree that the city was forced to create a new position of comptroller to reorganize and reconcile the city’s accounts.

Other members of the community alleged that Councilman Jim Miller was responsible for the more than $300,000 in legal and professional fees spent by the city of Floresville in the past year.

Councilman Sherry Castillo also accused Miller.

“The total was $359,000 for legal and professional fees,” Castillo said. “You spearheaded all of it.”

Castillo stated the fault for the city being insolvent lies with Miller for legal and professional fees incurred when he pursued answers to financial questions last year. The resulting costs exceeded the amount budgeted by the city council.

Miller countered Castillo’s allegations, advising the council with a breakdown of the legal fees. (See “Legal fees,” for the full list.)

“The total of $332,725 does not include what was spent on engineering fees or the contract comptroller fees,” Miller said. “It is clear that there isn’t any one item that is the cause.”

Miller further explained some possible solutions discussed by the audit committee and assured the city employees that no one had discussed cutting employee positions or benefits.

The council convened an executive session to discuss the agenda item specifically related to Joslin’s employment.

Upon their return to open meeting, City Attorney Louis T. Rosenberg read the text of a directive aimed at resolving the city’s financial situation. Joslin was given a directive to be proactive in the city’s financial reporting, among other things.

The city manager’s contract calls for a quarterly review by the council to discuss performance; this will be adhered to according to the council directive, with the first review during the council’s first meeting in May.

Also during the meeting, the council:

•Adopted the amended Floresville Economic Development Corp. (FEDC) bylaws.

•Tabled two agenda items referring to information request forms/procedures and the resolution for agenda item request.

•Approved the second readings of ordinances passed by the council, calling for an 18-month moratorium on all special-use permits and the adoption of a clerical correction to the city of Floresville’s map to properly reflect properties subject to city taxes.

In attendance: City Attorney Louis Rosenberg; City Secretary Sherry Pollok; City Manager Andy Joslin; councilmen Mario Morones, Sherry Castillo, Eric Rodriguez, John Guerrero, and Jim Miller; Mayor Diana Garza; and Cyndi Nichols with the city’s permits office.

Legal fees

Councilman Jim Miller cited the following breakdown of legal fees incurred by the city of Floresville in the past year in response to accusations that his pursuit of answers from the former council resulted in the city’s insolvency. The legal fees paid to City Attorney Lou Rosenberg, from Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012, total $193,475.40, which breaks down as follows:

•Annexation $11,620.42
•Audit and budget $6,775.50
•Bargaining $410.50
•Development $23,403.57
•Elections $4,950.50
•Floresville Independent School
District builder $2,083.50
•Gas Franchise $489.50
•Garbage service $10,499.30
•General governance $53,997.82
•Government capital $1,638.50
•Impact fees $414
•McCoy’s project $6,502.50
•Miller mandamus litigation $3,851.50
•Personnel $324
•Police $6,835.08
•Planning and Zoning $20,155.67
•Quorum litigation $8,369.06
•River Bend $344
•Road tax $2,713
•Tax rate $308.50
•Wastewater $11,798.50
•Wilson litigation $12,557.27
•USDA loan $3,433.21

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Your Opinions and Comments

 
Jen  
Here  
February 11, 2013 9:22pm
 
I urge all concerned citizens to let the mayor and council members know we will not let this go. We want Joslin held accountable to his job and we expect them to follow through with an evaluation that does just that.

 
Concerned Tax Payer  
Floresville, Texas  
February 11, 2013 5:33pm
 
There's that ticking clock again!!! WooHoo. Worked for us once, will work again!!

 
flying monkey  
runge  
February 11, 2013 1:57pm
 
once a screw up.......

 
Delightful  
Downtown  
February 11, 2013 8:01am
 
Thanks to Joslin's attorney waving his contract around and threatening (yes, threatening) the council, he provided a roadmap to legally dismissing Joslin. What they evidently failed to recognized was that when the council ... More ›

 
Tired of the Corruption  
Floresville  
February 10, 2013 9:25pm
 
If there is ONE good thing out of this is that now Joslin can't fake his way thru the job. Now he has to earn his overly paid position.

 
Not Surprised  
Floresville  
February 10, 2013 6:41pm
 
Jen- I agree. Joslin's associates showed up in force to confuse the issue of his ability to do the job. His review needs to address all his mistakes, issues, failings, and incompetencies. I hope that the fact that Joslin was ... More ›

 
Jen  
Here  
February 10, 2013 6:26pm
 
My hope is that the city council gets their stuff together and gives Joslin a review that holds him accountable. Don't continue to let this man and his band of bullies destroy our city. The only thing he has built is a web of ... More ›

 
CharacterMatters  
Floresville  
February 8, 2013 5:18pm
 
Not mention of that "none" of the "Jim Miller" fees would have been required if the council and city management had answered questions immediately without attempted subterfuge, and admitted "at least ... More ›

 
LaLa Land  
Floresville, TX  
February 7, 2013 5:50pm
 
Do you think Castillo will have to read this 17 times before she understands it????

 
Connect the Dots  
Floresville  
February 7, 2013 4:07pm
 
Dang it when lies are disputed by facts. Nice try Castillo.

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