Council squabble erupts over possible second meeting

Verbal spats were traded on Aug. 4 as the Kyle City Council duked it out on the dais over the need for an agenda review meeting. 

It stemmed over the majority of council’s disapproval from an idea conceptualized by council member Diane Hervol. The resulting discussion led to council arguing the topic for over 40 minutes. 

Hervol, who advocated for an agenda review meeting, wanted a workshop to take place the Friday before the regular council meeting. Council member Daphne Tenorio wanted a similar meeting. 

The proposed meeting would allow council to plan, question and discuss the agenda for regular council meetings with City Manager Scott Sellers. Hervol also advocated for any presentations to council to be shown during that meeting.   

She argued that the meeting would allow council members to be “more prepared” to make decisions on Tuesday. Hervol said San Marcos and Round Rock city councils’ conduct agenda planning workshops.

Tenorio advocated for the agenda review meeting as all council members needed to be on the “same playing field.” 

That belief stemmed over questions pertaining to agenda setting, which are sent to Sellers. Hervol and Tenorio believe questions asked by council members on agenda setting aren’t being disseminated to other members. Both claimed they felt out of the loop.

Mayor Todd Webster expressed his disapproval on a “meeting before the meeting.” He believed that discussion should take place at the regular council meeting, and not in another forum. He also held concerns that disseminating the emails of council members could lead to an open meetings act violation. 

Mayor Pro Tem David Wilson said such a model had been employed. He said the struggle of council members to regularly attend those meetings led to their demise. He also believed an agenda workshop could be a “deterrent” for the public to run for council seats. 

Wilson also held concerns that an agenda review workshop could be construed as a lack of transparency. He wanted conversation to be done during the “charter designated time.” 

“I don’t want to have a bunch of meetings, where the meeting where the public gets to listen to what’s going on, doesn’t get to hear,” Wilson said. “The specter of a smoke filled room…where someone is doing something funny comes up.” 

City manager Scott Sellers said that any questions on the agenda he receives are sent to all council members. He also said staff tries their best to “not withhold information.” 

Sellers also shed light on a possible public information officer position that council could appoint. According to the Charter, council can appoint or hire a person to take questions the council has on agenda items, and relay to staff. 

Tenorio felt the idea was “ridiculous,” saying that the amount of questions to staff doesn’t necessitate anyone else but Sellers to respond. 

“As a council woman, I have one employee I want information from, and that’s you,” Tenorio said to Sellers on Aug. 4.

Council member Becky Selbera “totally opposed” the meeting as she couldn’t adjust her work schedule to attend. Council member Damon Fogley also shared similar concerns. 

“Your schedule may be flexible, but not mine,” Selbera said to Hervol. “I’m not going to rush over here to possibly get a ticket or two, so I can get here…so we can have a pre-agenda meeting.” 

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