City approves Brazzell's appointment as airport manager

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

The Alice City Council unanimously approved an $18,000 severance package for former Assistant City Manager Sara Wilson Monday, in exchange for her agreement not to sue the city.

The council approved severance pay in the amount of $18,502.40 Monday, which will be paid in addition to the $1,827.50 she has already been paid in unused vacation hours.

The vote by the council retroactively funded a severance agreement that was offered to Wilson by City Manager Albert Uresti on July 26.

That offer came as one of three options in a letter written by Uresti to Wilson in which he informed her he was reassigning her to the position of code enforcement officer, with a 38 percent reduction in salary.

Wilson was instructed that she could accept the reassignment, resign without severance benefits or resign and accept a 90-day severance package.

Wilson agreed to accept the severance package and resign immediately, with the agreement that she would not pursue legal action against the city.

When asked individually to comment on the circumstances surrounding Wilson's resignation, Mayor Pro-tem Juan Rodriguez and Council Members Dorella Elizondo, Shane Valverde and Leo Escobar all said the city manager is authorized to make personnel decisions, and they supported his decision.

Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez declined to comment on the agenda item Monday.

Wilson was not present at Monday's meeting.

In other personnel matters, the council also voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the city manager to hire Charles Brazzell Jr. as the new airport manager for the city.

The hiring of the airport manager must be authorized by the city council and the Jim Wells County Commissioner's Court. The commissioner's court is scheduled to address the item in its next meeting, city officials said.

Following the unanimous vote by the city council, Brazzell thanked the council for its decision.

"Thank you for this opportunity to serve my city and community again," Brazzell said.

The proposed salary for the position of airport manager is $1,000 a month, with the City of Alice and Jim Wells County each contributing half of that amount.

Brazzell will be on a probation period with the city for the first six months of his employment.

In other business, the council voted to authorize the expenditure of $12,190 for the purchase and installation of flow meter devises at the water treatment plant.

The installation of the devices is mandated by the the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, city staff said.

The council also approved the expenditure of $17,450 to update and install electrical outlets around the city hall for use during festivals and other special events.