ODESSA, Texas — There was more frustration from the public Tuesday night at the Odessa City Council meeting as the council went into closed session to discuss the employment of Presiding Judge Carlos Rodriguez.
The council ultimately did not make a change at the position with no action arising out of closed session, but there was other business that was taken care of.
The council approved contract agreements with interim City Attorney Dan Jones and interim City Manager Agapito Bernal during the meeting.
Odessa Mayor Javier Joven says despite what the salaries look like, they are getting much less than the previous holders of the positions.
“You compare it to cities of our size, and that’s how you come to a starting point," said Mayor Joven. "Now these are month to month, these are interims, and so we will have to – once we are in the process of going into seeking [a] city manager and city attorney, we are going to have to compete, and so we have to have a starting point.”
District Two Councilman Steven Thompson and District Three Councilman Gilbert Vasquez did not vote to approve the agreement with Bernal, but Mayor Joven is confident in his abilities.
“And his resume is impressive," said Mayor Joven. "He’s been in different aspects of municipal service, and in other areas, not just the city of Odessa…Bernal with his experience is helping the city on the day-to-day operations. It was essential to have that in place immediately.”
There is still skepticism, though, with how Mayor Joven and the city council are doing business.
“And unfortunately it seems like the council he’s leading has made things worse," said Anthony Robles, an attorney in Odessa. "There’s no transparency, they’re spending money, he’s signing contracts that are going to cost us in excess of I believe it’s $300,000. That doesn’t include the severance that we’re going to have to pay for the employees the council is firing, inappropriately, and the extra money that we’re paying for unqualified people.”
Jones’ salary sits at about $3,800 per week while Bernal’s sits at about $3,200 per week.
Item 10 on Tuesday night's agenda lead many to believe a change could be made in the position of Municipal Court Presiding Judge.
However, the council had that language in place just in case action arose from closed session.
The council tabled the item, meaning no action was taken.