Council Member to Seek Delay for Ordinance for Rehiring Suspended Employees

City Council Member Jimmy Mendez – Covering Katy photo

CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News)—Ward B City Council Member Jimmy Mendez said Monday he will seek to tag, or delay, consideration of a proposed city ordinance that addresses the rehiring of suspended city employees.

Under the proposed ordinance, city employees who were suspended without pay and then terminated would have to wait five years before being eligible to be rehired by the city.

Mendez said he plans to delay the agenda item at tonight’s regular city council meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

If successful, the agenda item would be considered at the June 24 council meeting.

Mendez said he also planned to tag consideration of two other proposed ordinances on Monday’s agenda. One would amend the rates charged by the Katy Fire Department for services provided to communities or unincorporated areas that don’t have a mutual aid agreement with the city. The other would provide for a penalty for public disclosure of executive session information.

In February, Mendez tagged a vote on Noe Diaz, who had been nominated by Mayor Chuck Brawner to become Katy police chief. The council approved Diaz at its next meeting in March, and he has since taken office.

The council meets in special session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to canvass, or certify, the May 4 city election results and swear in Mayor-Elect Bill Hastings, Ward B Council Member-Elect Jenifer Jordan Stockdick, and Ward A Council Member Frank Carroll. Stockdick will succeed Mendez, who was term-limited from seeking reelection.

Meanwhile, a former Katy city employee said Monday that the proposed ordinance has come about because of her situation.

Maria Horn Galvez is a former emergency management coordinator for the city. She was fired in March 2018. In September, Galvez filed a lawsuit against the city, which made its way into federal district court. Her suit alleged that she was put on administrative leave, and while she was out, the city reviewed her Facebook Messenger posts, some of which were personal in nature. The suit alleges that the city could do this because her Facebook page was linked to the city and fire department Facebook pages.

She appealed her firing to the city council, where she claims those Messenger posts were used against her.

Asked what she would like to see the council do about the proposed ordinance tonight, Galvez said, “I would like to see the city council not even discuss it. Tag it, remove it, fight against it. It is a ridiculous ordinance because in the history and moving forward, with City of Katy employees, every single person is a case-by-case scenario and it should have always been that way. People get suspended all the time and then put back into their position.”

As for her future, Galvez said she wanted to see the legal process through before deciding her next steps.

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