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The workout team charged with carrying out the directive of Mission City Council to dissolve MEDA (Mission Economic Development Authority) as soon as possible has come up with a plan calling for the mass resignation of the entire MEDA board of directors. This plan was discussed by the MEDA board in a meeting held Wednesday, March 9.
The proposed plan, which has not yet been approved by MEDA, calls for the resignation of the entire MEDA board and, through a change in the corporation’s bylaws, setting up a new, streamlined seven-member board to replace the current 21-member board (consisting of 15 voting board members and six advisory board members). The new board would be similar in size to the MEDC board and would be appointed by city council, as is the MEDC board.
The workout team is comprised of City Manager Julio Cerda, City Attorney David Guerra and MEDA President/CEO Pat Townsend Jr. The three have been meeting in private discussions since Feb. 18 to come up with a “workout plan” that would meet not only the council’s objectives, but also meet all the legal responsibilities of MEDA.
The proposed council-appointed MEDA board could be the same people currently serving on the MEDC board, or not, Townsend said. That’s entirely up to the council.
While not discussing their reservations in open session, MEDA board members have concerns that they want to make sure are addressed before they agree to resign and hand off their responsibility to a new board. A major part of those concerns are the fiduciary requirements of ongoing contracts and development agreements binding MEDA and its board members to meet certain obligations.
Townsend told the board, “You’ve got to trust the fact that fiduciary responsibilities are carried out by your replacements. I can’t imagine someone accepting the appointment will drop those, in other words, drop our contracts and ignore our development agreements.”
He also said he didn’t know any MEDA board members who would be interested in signing a dissolution resolution [due to the fiduciary responsibilities or MEDA]. So, instead, he proposed the change in bylaws, appointing a new, seven-member board and MEDA continuing to operate, but in a different role.
“Even if MEDA continues to exist, it is probably a shell corporation,” he said. “So the spokespeople for economic development is going to come from [MEDC], not [MEDA] but [MEDA] is still around” to conduct limited business, such as selling a lot, but not the majority of the business.
For example, Townsend said, at one point MEDA contemplated a land purchase with a potential of development.
“If I understand the intentions of the council, if it ever gets done, they expect it from the EDC, not this EDA shell,” he said.
MEDA Board Chairman Robert Goodwin said after the meeting that another major concern of the MEDA board is what is going to happen to the current MEDA employees if the MEDA functions are transferred to MEDC. Would they become city employees? Would all of the employees be retained? Would some of them lose their jobs, or be moved to other city positions?
Mission City Manager Julio Cerda, in a telephone interview Thursday morning said, “We understand that there are concerns and issues we have to address and they are being addressed.”
“It’s not as easy as if we’re closing one department and opening up another. We’re talking about corporations here – multimillion dollar corporations that we have to handle very, very carefully and make sure all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted, and make sure everything is done correctly,” he added.
|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|
|Mission council supports MEDA board restructuring||Originally published Friday, March 18|
|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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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.