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City Council Holds Off on Opening Street Near Omni Building

Davis Smith – Cole Shooter,

At their meeting this week, the Lubbock City Council chose to hold off on taking major action regarding opening the street near a downtown building that has posed a risk to passersby.

On Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council chose to hold off on reopening 14th Street and Avenue K near the Omni building.

The building has posed a safety risk to those near the building due to marble tiles falling off of the building’s sides.

A number of people donning “Free My Street” Shirts featuring a picture of the road closure signs near the Omni building, voiced their opinion that the street should be reopened immediately.

The City of Lubbock is currently involved in legal action in City of Lubbock v. Lubbock Omni Office, Inc., which means that public discussion by the Council regarding the handling of the building must be heavily reined in.

Engineers with the City said that the hazardous materials had been removed from the sides of the building, but it was impossible to know when more tiles would fall off.

District One Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez offered a motion to engage a contractor to remove the marble tiles and any other materials from the side of the building, but City Manager James Loomis said that prices would need to be submitted by contractors before the Council took that action.

District Six Councilwoman Latrelle Joy offered a motion to open one lane of the street opposite the building, and have the City close the area completely during periods of high winds. District Four Councilman Jim Gerlt suggested quantifying high winds at 30 miles per hour or higher. The motion failed 3-3, with District 5 Councilwoman Karen Gibson absent.

Joy did make a successful motion to have City crews clean up trash and weeds in the area and along the fence line of the building “to make it look a little less like Baghdad.” The Council unanimously approved the clean-up measure.

The Council will consider the issue at their next meeting in two weeks.

The City of Lubbock also has a new city attorney.


City of Lubbock

Chad Weaver has been officially named as city attorney following a unanimous vote by the Council.

The Council approved Weaver’s appointment and a severance agreement, which was sent to the media following Thursday evening’s meeting.

Weaver’s salary will be around $196,000 per year.

Under the severance agreement, Weaver agrees not to sue the City of Lubbock except to enforce the terms of the severance agreement.

If Weaver is terminated for cause, which includes recurring acts of willful, grossly negligent, and habitual neglect of any significant duty; a plea of guilty or no contest to a conviction of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude; inability to perform duties as a result of a disability; serious misconduct; or death, the City is free of any severance compensation responsibility.

However, if Weaver is terminated by the City without cause, he is entitled to six months base salary and benefits.

Also, if Weaver’s salary is reduced by a greater percentage than that of any universal salary reduction for all City employees, it is considered as termination without cause, and he will be entitled to compensation under the severance agreement.

Weaver replaces embattled former City Attorney Sam Medina, who took leave from the City after his soon-to-be ex-daughter-in-law made allegations that Medina had sexually assaulted her over a period of several years. Medina has denied the allegations and no criminal charges have been filed, but he chose to resign last March.

Assistant City Attorney Mitch Satterwhite has served as interim city attorney since Medina went on leave.

The Council also approved an order declaring Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson as elected to the office of Mayor, since he is running unopposed in the May 10th, 2014 municipal election.

District Three Councilman Todd Klein, who may have attended his last meeting as a councilman depending on Saturday’s election results, also faced a final defeat regarding a proposed task force.

Klein proposed a resolution establishing a Citizens Task Force to study payday lending, and also making recommendations to State of Texas officials to mitigate predatory lending in the state.

The measure failed 5-1, with only Klein voting for the measure.

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