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Mission rescinds MEDA’s authority, hires its employees, except Townsend

MEDAlogo_TNMonday – almost six weeks after the Mission City Council cut off all funding to MEDA – the council rescinded the authority of MEDA (Mission Economic Development Authority) to conduct any economic development activities on behalf of the city, effectively immediately.

Tuesday, Mission City Manager Julio Cerda visited with the employees of MEDA, asking them to go to work for the city. This was a limited time opportunity.

Wednesday, all four regular employees agreed to go to work for the city. However, MEDA President/CEO Pat Townsend Jr. is not making the switch.

Thursday morning, Townsend said, “I’ve explained repeatedly to the city manager and city attorney…I am under contract for employment services to the MEDA board. I respect that contract and … I don’t understand why a former member of my board doesn’t understand it’s still in place. I’ve told him repeatedly.”

Asked if he has other plans, in lieu of going to work for the city he said, “I’m under contract. I’m not through with what the board expects. If this decision by the council had been what I consider a ramping up and ramping down and there’s a point of intersection where the president/CEO services are not needed… things might have worked out, but when you have the need for an executive director immediately at MEDC – and that’s the way I read it when I was sitting in that council meeting Monday night – there are immediate job openings, and they need to fill them immediately, and they need to get on about their business.”

“It’s complicated,” Cerda said regarding Townsend. “I’m not sure how that’s going to work out….I would love for him to continue with our economic development.”

Although things were still in a state of flux Thursday as discussions were taking place between Cerda, Townsend and the attorneys, they now (as of presstime) expect the four employees to continue working for MEDA until April 15, to help the authority get the work done to wind down the corporation and to transition to the MEDC.

Monday, March 28, when the city council repealed the resolution that authorized MEDA to serve as the city’s economic development arm in 1989, it also designated MEDC (Mission Economic Development Corporation) to handle economic development.

This latest action has created further confusion in the midst of a difficult transition. This week, when a business looking to locate in Mission called MEDA for assistance, no one knew who was authorized to handle the call, due to Monday’s action

Monday, the council also called for an inventory of MEDA’s assets and liabilities, ordered the authority to convey its assets to the city by May 15, and said the city would assume all existing obligations of MEDA.

Despite the city having no legal authority to order MEDA to turn over its assets, the authority is, nonetheless, working to comply with the city’s order. The MEDA board was scheduled to meet late Thursday to discuss Monday’s actions by the city council. Also on the agenda is discussion of Townsend’s employment agreement, other personnel, review of pending development agreements and review of existing leases, development agreements and economic development activities.

The authority also held a meeting Monday – before the city council meeting – taking action on two items assigning to the city the engineering contracts for the Military Parkway and Mile 2 North projects. Townsend told the MEDA board that when the council stopped funding MEDA on Feb. 18, it placed the Mile 2 project in suspense. So, he gave notice to L&G Engineering to suspend all activities on the project as of March 24.

MEDA Timeline

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
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.
MEDA Timeline Originally published Friday, April 1

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