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Mission council supports MEDA board restructuring

MEDAlogoMission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas and the city council unanimously voted in support of a proposal presented by City Attorney David Guerra calling for MEDA (Mission Economic Development Authority) to amend its bylaws to restructure its board of directors. The proposal, if approved by the MEDA board, would replace the current 15-member board with seven directors to be appointed by the council – a departure from the present self-elected directors of MEDA. The action took place following executive session at the Monday, March 14 city council meeting.

The plan calls for the resignation of the entire MEDA board. Eight members would resign immediately, and the remaining seven would resign effective upon approval of a new council-appointed board, according to Guerra.

He said the new seven-member board would be appointed to two-year terms and any director could be removed by the city council at any time, without cause. The proposed bylaws change would require that each director be a resident of the city, and three directors must not be city employees, officers or members of the City of Mission governing body (city council).

The new MEDA board requirements would mirror the requirements for the MEDC (Mission Economic Development Corporation) board. It is anticipated that the council will appoint the existing MEDC board members as the new MEDA directors.

The plan supported by the council was the second of two options presented by the city attorney. The first option was to reduce the size of the board from 15 to seven members. This option specified only that the board would be comprised of six regular members plus the mayor. Guerra later explained that under this option, the MEDA board members would continue to be elected as they presently are, rather than being appointed by the city council. The city manager, under this option, would no longer hold a position on the board as he now does.

The city attorney later explained that these are two options that he understands the MEDA board is considering and is expected to vote on at a future board meeting.

Following the council vote to support the second option, Guerra told the council, “I would like to ask the city manager, on the next city council agenda, to put an item on there whereby, if MEDA takes this action, the council would appoint … the present members of the MEDC board as the new MEDA board.

The vote comes after the council, on Feb. 18, voted to dissolve MEDA and turn all of its functions over to MEDC. At that meeting, the council appointed the city attorney and city manager, joined by MEDA President/CEO Pat Townsend Jr. to work out a plan to carry out the council’s order. But the action carries with it an array of legal issues that must be sorted out before MEDA can be dissolved.

Townsend suggests that an alternative to the actual dissolution of MEDA may be to continue to operate MEDA as a shell corporation that would continue to meet its contractual commitments, regardless of who sits on the board of directors.

Current MEDA board members are proceeding cautiously, wanting assurances that the corporation’s contractual obligations, which are binding upon not just the corporation but also its board of directors, are properly handled. Some of these obligations are associated with development agreements providing incentives to employers and corporations agreeing to locate facilities in Mission that would provide jobs and other economic benefits for the City of Mission.

MEDA board members have also expressed concern for the present six MEDA employees, wondering if they would lose their jobs during the restructuring. The council gave no direction regarding future employment of these individuals.

The controversial council action has met with much concern and varying degrees of irritation by various MEDA board members, who feel they are being treated with dishonor, despite years of faithful service to the City of Mission.

MEDC board chairman Joe Roseland was removed from that board after asking the mayor if they had the authority to make the changes requested by the council without holding budget hearings and following standard procedures required of the city.

Mission Police Department Public Relations Officer Jody Tittle was appointed by the council on Feb. 28 to replace Roseland on the MEDC board.

Presently, the MEDC board members are Mayor  Norberto “Beto” Salinas, S. David Deanda Jr., Linda Requenez, Polo De Leon, Cathy Garcia, Ricardo Martinez and Jody Tittle.

On Thursday, March 17 (after press deadline), MEDA was slated to consider amending its bylaws and board member resignations. However, late Wednesday Townsend said MEDA’s new legal counsel has had very little time to review MEDA’s legal responsibilities, so the board may not be ready to take action.

City of Mission dissolves MEDA Originally published Friday, February 18
Mission Councilwomen barred from MEDA executive session Originally published Friday, March 4
Council removes Roseland as MEDC board president Originally published Friday, March 4
MEDA to discuss merger with MEDC Originally published Friday, March 4
MEDA board considers mass resignation Originally published Friday, March 11
MEDA board members tell council, 'Slow down' Originally published Friday, March 18
MEDA rebuffs city takeover of board Originally published Friday, March 25
Council strips MEDA's authority Originally published Tuesday, March 29, 11:24 p.m.
Mission rescinds MEDA's authority, hires its employees, except Townsend Originally published Friday, April 1
MEDA Timeline Originally published Friday, April 1
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