A lack of business, not a shortage of members, caused the cancellation of the Kerrville Economic Improvement Corporation’s regularly scheduled Monday meeting, according to board president Kenneth Early.
The only applicant now working with the EIC “temporarily ended negotiations,” Early told The Kerrville Daily Times on Monday. “It’s like a tennis match. We can’t continue until they hit the ball back.”
Regular staff reports on already-financed projects can wait until January, he added. The next EIC meeting is set for 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 22.
Between now and then, the Kerrville City Council will probably fill the two vacancies on the seven-member EIC board. Who they pick will be closely watched.
A week ago today, the council voted 3-2 to remove accountant James Wilson from the board because of his verbal criticism of the council, especially remarks made since September.
Last Thursday, board member Paul Stafford created a second vacancy when he tendered his resignation.
“Personal reasons will no longer allow me to serve to the best of my ability,” stated his letter to Mayor Bonnie White, which was posted on Kerrville United’s Facebook page.
He told The Times that he resigned because of Wilson’s removal.“That triggered it,” he said.
A retired communication director for a global oil, gas and nuclear power generation company, Stafford said that, as of Monday afternoon, several council members had called to thank him for his service to the city.
A missing skill set
The EIC board will miss Wilson’s accounting abilities, said Early, who is a senior vice president for lending with Texas Hill Country Bank in Kerrville.
“He was a strong voice of reason. He has a very good accounting type of mind, and that’s a skill set we need,” Early said.
Wilson is a certified public accountant who has an office in San Antonio and a home in Kerrville.
“It’s unfortunate that disagreements can cause something like this to happen,” Early said, adding that he regretted the council’s action. “There’s not a lot of room for disagreement with the current council.”
As for the future of EIC, Early said, “I don’t know what will happen next. I have no idea who they will appoint.”
In addition to Early, remaining EIC members are Vice President Sheri Patillo and members George Baroody, Gary Cooper and Robert Naman.
Baroody — who also is a city councilman and who moved for Wilson’s removal — was appointed to the EIC board in May, along with Cooper, Naman and Stafford.
Delayne Sigerman, an EIC member who could have served a second two-year term, was defeated for reappointment at the same council meeting, with White, Baroody and Voelkel voting against her continued service.
On social media, some citizens have questioned whether the council will or even should appoint its own members to the board, but state law says that up to four members of the board may be city council members or city staff.
Before establishing the EIC in July 1995, Kerrville City Council members sought and received a legal opinion saying that council members can appoint themselves to the board.
The main question at that time was whether it violated a city charter rule that council members cannot hold other “public office.” The legal opinion said that council members serving on the EIC board — similar to how the mayor serves on the Kerrville Public Utility Board — does not violate the charter.