City Council wrong to fire Carl Parker

Published 9:06 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The City Council’s decision to tear up the contract with our lobbying, Carl Parker, is short sighted and wrong.
First, the legislative session is not entirely over. The Legislature will meet again later this month and it could consider laws that have a significant impact on Port Arthur.
While Harold Doucet is correct when he said the city depends on the Texas Municipal League, Rep. Joe Deshotel and the city attorney, he does not seem to grasp that Parker’s position was still unique and important.
First, as a former legislator, he knows the halls of power and the people inside those halls. In short, he knows how to get things done.
Deshotel and the municipal league know these things too, but they cannot and do not focus exclusively to the benefit of Port Arthur. In addition, we presume Deshotel does not have the time or the staff to review piles of legislation written by other representatives and senators that could harm Port Arthur. But our lobbyist did have that time—that’s what he had been paid for.
City Attorney Val Tizano is likewise valuable to the city, but she cannot spend her days in Austin reviewing potential legislation during session.
Doucet and others are correct that the city should review outside contracts and eliminate them when they are not serving the interests of the city.
But it’s not clear he understands what Parker was doing for the city.
He said, “I haven’t heard one resolution yet from the attorney (Carl Parker) to lobby for us.”
Lobbyists do not file resolutions. In fact, they normally keep their work quiet. Later in the city council meeting, Tizano pointed out that he has been working on three arbitrations—deals that cannot be discussed in public even after they’ve been resolved.
Those arbitrations have yet to be settled; firing Parker means the city will have to find a new attorney and pay more money to re-arbitrate those cases.
But beyond not understanding what Parker did for the city, the idea that the city council would eliminate a contract before the work’s even complete is akin to firing a contractor before a building is finished.
The city council could have waited the extra 30 days the emergency legislative session is supposed to take and made a decision then.
In fact, the council should have done this if it wanted him gone quickly.
Or, the city could have waited until his contract is up in April.
But, instead, five members of the city council voted for the worst option for the worst reasons.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox