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By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
The Flash Today
The Flash Today has obtained electronic communications between city officials involving the recent parting of ways between Judy Horn-Miller and the city of Stephenville. This is the fourth part of a series of stories releasing even more information about the incidents that led to Miller’s dismissal.
Was there some discussion by the Stephenville City Council to bring back its recently dismissed Director of Planning and Building Services in some form of service to the city? Yes.
Is Judy Horn-Miller coming back? No.
Was Councilman Jerry Warren totally honest when he published an advertisement and gave an interview to the Stephenville Empire -Tribune? No.
In a question and answer session with the paper published three weeks ago Warren was asked by reporter Michael Ross, “We’ve heard that Judy Miller is being considered as a possible head of the new Stephenville Economic Development Authority? Is there anything to that?”
Warren’s answer to this question was a single word “NO.”
And that does not appear to be a true answer.
Miller’s name has come up more than once in discussions as to which direction needs to taken in fixing the problems Stephenville is encountering with planning and building services. There was discussion of Miller possibly coming back on a 120-day contract to help complete projects currently under way or starting. There was also talk about her serving in an interim basis to head the newly formed economic development authority.
Discussions about bringing Miller back in some capacity have occurred as recently as the city council’s last executive session.
Warren’s concerns about the entire process seemed to focus more on the fact he had nothing to do with an unpopular decision and he wanted the public to know it was not his fault. While admitting in a self-placed advertisement and interview that the city had problems, Warren totally distanced himself from the dismissal, and was clearly unhappy he wasn’t consulted.
Warren wasn’t the only council member unhappy with the decision, because despite some reported faults Judy Miller is a “mover-and-shaker” who can make things happen and her leaving may slow down progress. Her knowledge and abilities are certainly what the council wants, because they have directed Bridges to find someone of the same caliber when it comes to serving the community.
Warren has not responded to numerous messages and emails asking for an explanation to his “NO” answer, or to clarify that his answer may have possibly come before discussions about Miller
Weldon admits Miller’s name did come up in discussions/brainstorming as the council attempts to move forward and correct problems. While the considerations of Miller may never have taken off they were certainly a part of the process and again the council needs a “mover-and-shaker” in economic development.
“I think what the council was looking to do is to ensure that that we continue to support the development that is occurring in the city and we were exploring options of how to do that. I think there had been a decision that has been made and our focus is now is to continue to support the citizens of this community. That’s what we are doing today and are going to continue to do,” Weldon said in response to whether or not Miller was ever considered.
Rumors of Miller’s return have been persistent and it was probably a breakfast meeting Weldon had three days after her dismissal that sparked many of them.
Weldon met over breakfast in downtown Stephenville with Miller and Rick Hale, who is president of the Stephenville Builder’s Association. Hale was one of many stepping up to the podium in a string of citizens supporting Miller after word had leaked out she was being dismissed.
So what was discussed at the meeting?
Weldon’s answer, “The meetings that I have had have been to gather facts about what has happened. To be able to support input to council decisions and there’s been nothing more than that. Associated with that or any meeting that took place with a builder, with Judy, with the council members, or Pat (Bridges, City Administrator).”
Weldon’s response may not clearly answer the question about what was discussed, but he doesn’t deny the meeting happened and because he held it downtown he certainly wasn’t hiding it either.
Everybody loves a conspiracy and tongues started wagging almost immediately about Miller’s return. One or two people approaching reporters turned into – LOTS! The wildest rumor being that Miller was going to be supported for a run at Weldon’s job as soon as she had met residency requirements to be elected. Yes, WILD!
“Judy Miller is not coming back,” Weldon said. That’s clear.
Weldon’s not about the “wild stuff.” As Stephenville’s mayor, he’s looking toward moving forward with great leadership, progress in economic development and getting to those goals in the proper manner. That’s is why an assessment and review has been ordered for Stephenville’s building and planning services department. That way there are no construction projects flying under the radar.
What else is not under the radar?
The progress the city is making in sewer and drainage, the Bosque River trail and the fact the city new budget and recent revenues are going to easily cover the first year of the economic development authority. Weldon credits Bridges and the Stephenville Finance Director Walter Wood for the success in making budget cuts without reducing city services.
More on that later so stay plugged into The Flash Today as Weldon talks about the real progress being made and we feature how Director of Community Services Jeremy Allen is thriving in his job.