At last Thursday night’s regular meeting of the Van Alstyne Economic Development Corporation, its Board of Directors relieved the executive director of her duties.
The Board met at City Hall, as the boardroom in the Welcome Center, which also houses the Van Alstyne Community Development Center and the Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce, was in use that same night by a CDC board meeting.
Currently, four members of the Van Alstyne City Council, Ryan Neal, Marla Butler, Steve Riley, and Robert Jaska, comprise the EDC Board of Directors, after the Council terminated the services of all its previous board members two months ago. At that earlier City Council meeting, they also designated that EDC Executive Director Jodi Carr answer to the City Manager Lane Jones in the absence of a board. She has been on paid administrative leave most of the time since that meeting.
The Council also made several changes in administrative process at that earlier meeting, in order to keep the EDC accessible during this temporary administrative adjustment, and many of the items on this most recent meeting began the process of moving it all back to EDC management.
The agenda opened with the routine item of approving its minutes from the Oct. 15 meeting, and that was done with a unanimous vote, as were all votes on motions at this meeting. They then moved on to several items regarding overall management of the EDC, one of which was to have the executive director again reporting to his/her board of directors. They removed the city manager as a signatory on the EDC bank account and replaced him with Butler.
Next, the EDC Board voted to migrate the EDC-managed QuickBooks financial accounting into the city’s Asyst accounting system. This change will make it more efficient for the auditors the city has hired to peruse the EDC books to accomplish that task, a board member explained.
Then, they broke off into executive session. The new City Hall has a separate room for such meetings as executive sessions, thus allowing the public in attendance to remain inside the bigger council room.
Items on that agenda included a discussion with the EDC attorney, Lance Vanzant, regarding (1) contemplated or threatened litigation and (2) deliberation on the status of Carr’s employment as EDC executive director. Before going behind closed doors, Vanzant asked the audience if anyone wanted to speak to either of those two items, but no one spoke up.
After the executive session ended, and all were seated again at the board table, Neal read a statement he said they all agreed upon. “We (the EDC Board) have evaluated the operation of the EDC and the EDC director and have decided that the operation as (it) existed does not provide an appropriate level of service to the citizens of Van Alstyne.”
With that, a motion to “terminate the employment of Jodi Carr as executive director of the EDC effective immediately” was made, seconded, and approved by all.
A phone call made to Carr for her comments was not returned.
The EDC is funded completely by a percentage of the sales tax dollars that come into the city, and that percentage was approved by voters decades ago when they approved the creation of the Economic Development Corporation.
It took 35 minutes from beginning to end to complete the meeting.