Dear Editor and Citizens of Austin County,
It has been almost two years since Judge Carolyn Bilski handed me the gavel and the softball. Fortunately I haven’t had to use the softball yet, although I have come close a couple times. It has been a wild ride my first two years in office. From fires to floods to drought again, it has been a challenge.
I expect the next two years of my term to be nasty as the political process often is. I have been accused of all sorts of crimes against humanity: from stealing the money from the orphanage to convening the mafia to running bootleg alcohol in an orange stock car with an 01 painted on the side. I can only imagine what the next stories will be.
I have made some mistakes and I have owned up to them. Every day of this job is different. There is no telling what will come with each phone call or email. From the small, mundane events to meeting with international companies to even a large project that has roots in the Panama Canal enlargement, we try to put Austin County’s best foot forward each and every day. The citizens of Austin County are great people. It is an honor to represent each and every one. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.
County Judge, Austin County
The Sealy News
I must commend the sales ability of City Manager Kuciemba who has managed to be rewarded for violating the terms of his contract, which required him to move to Sealy not later than March 8, 2016. City council ignored that contract provision which is demanded by the city charter, and instead of allowing Mr. Kuciemba a limited time to cure his breach in March, rewarded him. The city charter serves the same purpose for our city that the Constitution does for the state by limiting and defining the powers of the elected officials and employees of the governing entity. As such, the right to amend the charter was reserved for the citizens of Sealy. Only by vote of a majority of the citizens can it be changed. City Manager Kuciemba has violated the specific terms of his employment contract, enlisted city council’s support of that violation, and further has personally violated the city charter as did each and every council member who approved the action. While doing that, he managed to also convince council to provide him with a $3,000 per year car allowance, in addition to the 54 cents per mile he already receives, while garnering a raise of $2,850 per year. This brings his total compensation package to in excess of $11,000 per month.
The city manager has also managed to get the council to go along with other violations of the charter, in addition to the charter requirement that the city manager live in the City he is managing. He has also violated the provisions of the charter that require the city manager to ‘Ensure that all state laws and city ordinances are effectively enforced’. One of those Ordinances, specifically 2-35 (2), provides for a citizen’s right to participate in the governance of the city by appearing before council for discussion and possible action on any matter the citizen may designate. Mr. Kuciemba has violated this ordinance on multiple occasions by refusing to include a properly requested item on the agenda. Further, the city charter in Section 3.03 provides: “The mayor shall see that all ordinances, regulations, and resolutions of the city council are faithfully obeyed and enforced.” The mayor, as the only person besides the city manager who determines what is included in the agenda, has also violated both the charter and the city ordinance cited above. The item they refuse to include on the agenda concerns the city’s breach of a contract commitment to another party, which dispute could easily cause the city to be involved in a second lawsuit since City Manager Kuciemba was hired less than 16 months ago. The city manager cannot be excused for his contract and charter violations. Although some will say this is a minor violation, if this is not immediately addressed, what provision of the charter will the city manager and city council chose to ignore next? Citizens of Sealy, this is your charter and it is up to you to protect it or amend it.
Loren ‘Mike’ Weber