In an earlier post I described November 15th, 2005, as a sad day in Keller when the City Council declared its intent to build a library in Town Center whether you liked it or not. But it seems that wasn’t the only failure of representation that night.

Executive item 2a, extending the City Manager’s contract term through September, 2008, was unanimously approved. One of the provisions of this contract is severance pay equal to a full year’s salary plus all pay he would have received had he not been terminated. If you didn’t let out a Borat-style WWHAAT? when reading that, then read it again. It’s like hiring someone to mow your lawn for the summer, and if he does a good job you’ll pay him $1000. If he does poorly and you have to fire him, you pay him $1250.

When I first read this contract, I was despondent that a prior council had so thoroughly limited my ability to hold the City Manager accountable. How can a City Council truly hold responsible someone who holds a $400,000 taxpayer-funded trump card?

But as it turns out, the council not only exercised poor judgment that night; what they did was illegal. The City Charter states clearly that “the city manager shall not be appointed to a definite term” and that in the event of termination, the city council “shall be authorized to grant him not in excess of 120 days base pay.”

I don’t know when this employment agreement was first signed by a city council, but I know it’s been in effect for years. How is it I’m the first one to discover this blatant violation of the Charter? And a more important question that should be on the civic-minded minds of Keller voters: What else don’t I know?