by ANDY SEVILLA
After only three months on the job, the Kyle city attorney was ousted from his post Tuesday night in a quick and unanimous vote by the city council.
The elected officials came out of executive session, where they deliberated on the terms and conditions of the city attorney’s contract and evaluated his performance for about 30 minutes, before stepping out into open session, and without any discussion, voted to accept Julian Grant’s resignation.
Former contract city attorney, and now acting city attorney, Frank Garza, who was involved in council’s deliberations on Grant, said Grant was offered the option to resign and he accepted.
“The council spoke to him, raised a couple of issues – both positive and the negative – and after discussion it was just decided that (Grant) would submit his resignation 30 days out,” Garza said.
Grant’s resignation is effective April 4.
This move by the council comes after several missteps that have mired Grant’s employment with the city.
A few days into his job, Grant dimmed the light on government transparency by putting an end to City Manager Lanny Lambert’s informative Friday letter. Grant said sensitive city information could have leaked through the letter aimed at keeping council members abreast of city business, a practice Lambert said he has exercised for decades.
Shortly thereafter, Grant, without council approval, kept Lambert from an executive session where city litigation updates were to be discussed. Council members took issue with the matter and Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson said Lambert would not be kept from executive session conversations without council directive.
In mid-February, Grant left his city issued cell phone in a downtown San Antonio hotel, and admitted to noticing the phone was missing almost 24 hours later. Grant said that sensitive city information could have been accessed on the cell phone, specifically emails directed to council members or confidential memos. Hotel staff went through the cell phone and dialed Grant’s most recent calls in an effort to locate the owner.
Most recently, council members were visibly frustrated at Grant’s inability to fulfill council wishes behind requests for examples of preliminary drafts of potential education information regarding the $36 million road bond voters will decide in May. Council members have for months expressed the need for the education of the public on a road bond that could improve five Kyle roads. Ultimately, the city’s finance director, Perwez Moheet, told council members he would take on that task.
Grant began employment with city on Dec. 1 after council members approved his $85,000 contract. He was Kyle’s first in-house city attorney.
“Sometimes relationships don’t work out,” Johnson said. “We really do wish (Grant) the best and hope to find a good replacement and good full-time city attorney in the future for Kyle.”
Garza said Grant will not receive any pay-out or severance package, as his contract only called for that after working for the city for a year. He said Grant will only be paid his remaining 30 days of employment.
Garza, who himself and his firm continued representing the city in special matters at a cost of about $200 per hour, will step in as the city’s contract city attorney once again.
“At this point, Frank Garza and his law firm will be handling our legal services, continuing all the work that Julian Grant did -– he was in the middle of a number of projects and we want to make sure that any legal advice isn’t lacking or dragging for the city after Mr. Grant’s absence,” Johnson said. “We’re confident that Frank (Garza) can take on and handle that work.”
Before coming to Kyle, Grant worked as the Texas Attorney General’s Local Government Affairs Section Chief.