HUTTO – At last week’s Hutto City Council meeting, council member Scott Rose resigned after criticism from citizens during public comments.
Rose resigned from his seat on the council during the meeting, Thursday, Sept. 3.
“I signed a letter, and all I can do is own it,” he said. “I owe an apology to the citizens . . . I let everybody down.”
Citizens spoke out after a letter of recommendation signed by city council members for former City Manager Odis Jones, who recently accepted and began a city manager position in Missouri City.
Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Hines, Councilman Scott Rose and former Councilmen Nate Killough and Tim Jordan issued a collaborative letter that spoke highly of Jones and his accomplishments while in Hutto.
“Mr. Jones’ performance can only be described as exemplary with unquestionable ethics. As a result of his leadership, work ethic, public finance experience and collaborative consensus building skills…we as a City was able to renew financial stability to local government, acquire a water system for the City that will supply the City with water for the next 100 years, stimulate an explosion of economic growth within the City, and rebuild a Police Department that has endeared trust within our community,” the letter said.
However, citizens did not agree with the sentiments of the letter and questioned the council’s integrity.
“Why do we make our ex-city manager look honorable and full of integrity when he is neither?” Terri Grimm, former council member, said during public comments.
Ron McKee called out the council for lack of honesty, transparency and communication between council members.
“Transparency is important to us citizens. It’s critically important,” he said. “But there is none. It’s like everyday something different comes up in Hutto.”
Nicole Calderone called for every council member involved to resign.
“This happened on your watch,” she said. “You let down the community. You let down the staff. You let down your fellow councilmembers.”
Robin Sutton criticized Rose at the council meeting Thursday for signing the letter and asked if council members really thought there were issues that were racially motivated against Jones.
“Do you really think he did a great job?” Sutton said. “We are broke. We are running out of water. This is all a frickin’ lie. All of it, but you approved it.”
Sutton said the council members knew what was being signed, even if their signature was not on the document.
“You knew everything that was happening,” she said. “You need to respect the citizens of this town and say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not qualified to do this job anymore.’”
Sutton also spoke on the allegations that Jones dealt with issues that were racially motivated.
A press release issued by Missouri City said Jones received clean audits of the city budget for every year he worked in Hutto.
“I would like to reiterate again that any operational decisions I made while honorably serving the city of Hutto were done with the knowledge and approval of the city council,” Jones said in the press release. “This includes all severance agreements, budget amendments and strategic initiatives.”
Jones served as city manager for Hutto from 2016 through 2019.
“I take my oath and ethical obligation as a city manager very seriously and am offended by these ongoing untruthful and unjustified attacks.”