Argyle’s action leaves mixed feelings

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Council divided after ending interim town manager’s contract

The decision to end the Argyle interim town manager’s contract left the Town Council with mixed feelings about whether or not the town has the leadership necessary to operate efficiently.

During the council’s Aug. 28 meeting, council members voted 3-2 to end the contract between the interim town manager and the town before finding a replacement.

Mayor Matt Smith said Rod Hogan’s termination was the sum of many issues he felt illustrated unsatisfactory leadership. Smith said Hogan demonstrated poor management and communication skills, which he said was hurtful to the town’s operations.

Smith said he asked Hogan to find $150,000 in the town’s budget that could be reinvested into the community. However, Hogan’s method of coming up with the $150,000 didn’t sit too well with the mayor and some council members.

“He shot off a staff- and council-wide e-mail that said the only way to do that would be to cut salaries by 10 percent,” Smith said. “You can only imagine the morale within our staff after he sent that out.”

The Denton Record-Chronicle received an audio recording of the meeting through an open records request. The audio revealed that Place 4 council member Bonny Haynes was against firing Hogan at a time in which the town is putting together its 2012-13 budget.

“You just let go of a man because he couldn’t meet your challenge,” Haynes said during the Aug. 28 meeting.

Town Attorney Matthew Boyles said the council could terminate Hogan’s contract at any moment as stated in the contract.

Hogan couldn’t be reached for comment.

He worked for 35 years as a municipal employee in Plano in various leadership positions. He worked as that city’s deputy city manager from 1999 until he retired in 2009.

Former Plano City Manager Tom Muehlenbeck said Hogan’s leadership and management skills helped Plano grow into a thriving community. He also said that if it weren’t for Hogan, many initiatives would have failed.

Argyle council officials are now relying on department directors to fill in for the town manager’s position until a new one is hired in about one to two months, Smith said.

“We are confident in our department heads to manage their [respective] departments,” he said.

Haynes said she felt Hogan was forced out for unfairly. She said Hogan planned to stay until the end of September to help the town construct its budget.

“Hogan was asked to find $150,000 and when he did, he said the only place he could find was in pay cuts. And they didn’t like that,” she said. “Now the budget process is chaos and it’s just a mess.”

One of the town manager’s responsibilities is to assist the financial director in shaping the budget.

Finance Director Kim Collins declined to comment on Hogan’s employment or the town’s budget, but the audio recording from the meeting indicates that council members were seeking extra funds to make up for a 5 percent revenue decrease and to help balance the budget.

After council members argued about where that money could come from, the council eventually gave Collins some guidance on how to finish the budget.

That budget will be presented in a public hearing at 5 p.m. today in Argyle City Hall, 308 Denton St.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is jharden@dentonrc.com .


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