Thursday night's Lubbock City Council meeting was a tense one with a failed vote to place City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld on paid administrative leave, and a decision to hire outside legal counsel to investigate her complaints against Councilman Victor Hernandez.
Thursday's agenda had three specific items discussing the Hernandez – Dumbauld issues: Complaints from the City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld about Councilman Hernandez, the city manager's involvement in another employee complaint about Hernandez and the city manager's future employment with the city.
Tensions could be felt from the very beginning as citizen's comments took the stage. "I think you made a big mistake not taking Judge Sam Medina's advice," one man said about the council's vote last week to investigate complaints against Hernandez internally rather than hire outside legal counsel. "Personally I expected great things from this City Council. So far you have acted like cannibals trying to eat your own," he added in regards to certain council members wanting Dumbauld to be put on administrative leave for her complaints against Hernandez.
Others voiced their concerns about Hernandez voting on complaints made against him, saying it was unethical.
The council then proceeded with a unanimous vote to allow City Attorney Sam Medina to hire outside legal counsel to deal with these issues. That decision was based partly on Medina's advice to do so, but also because Dumbauld and another city employee who filed a complaint against Hernandez have hired outside attorneys. That city employee's complaint was thrown out by a council vote last week because council found it "lacked merit".
Councilwoman Latrelle Joy then filed a motion to place Lee Ann Dumbald on paid administrative leave during the course of the investigation. Councilman Klein seconded the motion and stated it was not as a disciplinary action but as a courtesy to Dumbauld.
The 3-3 vote for administrative leave failed with Hernandez, Joy and Klein voting for and Mayor Robertson, Mayor Pro Tem Gibson and Councilman Jim Gerlt voting against. Councilman Floyd Price was not in attendance to break the tie.
Hernandez was originally under fire as three complaints surfaced that he created a hostile work environment for city employees, one including Dumbauld. One employee withdrew her statement saying Dumbauld advised her to make the complaint.
Hernandez then turned the tables and brought forth Dumbauld's employment status as an agenda item. Last week, city council didn't discuss it in open session and the agenda item was brought back for Thursday's agenda.
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