Big Spring City Council Ousts Entire Economic Development Board

Big Spring City Council Ousts Entire Economic Development Board

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9 

BIG SPRING - The Big Spring City Council voted Wednesday to replace the entire Economic Development Board.

Disagreements among the board about their own policies and procedures had been brewing for nearly a year, and they eventually overflowed into city matter.

"It's changed and polarized the board to where we are probably more argumentative than we should be, dysfunctional," explained Mayor Larry McLellan. Other council members described what they witnessed when they attended the EDC meetings, saying it was a combination of a lack of respect, people beating down each other's throats, and overall little progress with the mission to enhance the city in mind.

"It's kind of a marriage gone bad and sometimes you just have to go your separate ways," Councilman Justin Myers said.

The five members removed include president Don Avant, Nati Saldivar, Scott MacKenzie, Jim DePaw, Frances Hobbs.

The public's response was very diverse.

"I think this board is just starting out. I wouldn't knock them in the head until you give them a fair chance. Let them get some time to work for the city," one resident said. He also talked about how the members had the most diverse background he'd ever seen in a group. Officials responded by saying sometimes diversity isn't a good thing.

Another resident felt the problem centered on the Director, Terry Weigman. "Where the board has failed is to hold Terry accountable for his inability for the growth of the city of big spring. And if they can't see that, the EDC needs a new director to take us in another direction," Norma Garcia said.

Director Terry Weigman's position is a salaried one, so he will be the only remaining EDC official. But the organization's president tried to fight for the group.

"You said to get you some rules and regulations, by golly I got you a set of rules and regulations the other night. And now you want to fire me for it, I don't have a problem with it. But I want this board to grow. If you gotta fire anybody on the board, you can run me off, let the other four stay. That means I'm an ineffective leader," Avant said.

The council was divided with a 5 to 2 vote (For removal-  Larry McLellan, Raul Benavides, Bobby McDonald, Raul Marquez, Jr., Justin Myers

Against removal-  Marvin Boyd, Carmen Harbour).

But they mostly agreed it was better to clean house than to single out individuals to remove.

The city council will be responsible for finding the replacements for the five seats, but no timeline has been mentioned.