UPDATE: Restraining order rescinded against City of Odessa in firings of city manager and city attorney
ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - UPDATE: A judge has rescinded the Temporary Restraining Order filed Tuesday against the City of Odessa.
A city council meeting has been called for Monday, Jan. 9th to allow for public comment on the firings of the city manager and city attorney.
According to attorney Gaven Norris, the TRO was rescinded without a motion to dismiss coming from either the City of Odessa or Norris’s Office.
Norris says that action is “highly unusual.”
We will update this story as we know more.
---ORIGINAL STORY BELOW---
On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the 358th Judicial District Court granted a Temporary Restraining Order and a Temporary Injunction against the City of Odessa in the firings of City Manager Michael Marrero and City Attorney Natasha Brooks.
The Odessa City Council voted to terminate Marrero and Brooks at its scheduled Dec. 13 meeting.
Shortly after the firing, attorney Gaven Norris filed a lawsuit against the City of Odessa for what Norris called “a violation of his rights provided under the Texas Government Code for Public Testimony at an open meeting.”
The Council ignored its agenda when firing Brooks and Marrero, refusing to allow the public to speak about it before or during the agenda item, which is a direct violation of the Texas Open Meetings Code.
The TRO prevents the city from:
Firing, removing, demoting, and interfering with Natasha Brooks or otherwise discontinuing her employment with Defendant The City Of Odessa without allowing Norris and other citizens and members of the public the right to address Defendant The City Of Odessa, by and through The Council, prior to or during consideration or discussion of a specific agenda item.
Firing removing, demoting, and interfering with Michael Marrero or otherwise discontinuing his employment with Defendant The City Of Odessa without allowing Norris and other citizens and members of the public the right to address Defendant The City Of Odessa, by and through The Council, prior to or during consideration or discussion of a specific agenda item.
In essence, the TRO and temporary injunction nullify the City of Odessa’s actions at the Dec. 13 meeting, meaning it cannot fire Brooks and Marrero and cannot appoint their replacements until the scheduled Jan. 10 hearing.
In a press release following the ruling, the Gaven Norris Law Office stated:
Today is a small victory for Gaven Norris, and the citizens of Odessa, in ensuring that Javier Joven, and the Odessa City Council, are held accountable to the citizens who elected them into office. Javier Joven and members of the Odessa City Council violated citizens’ constitutional rights under Texas law by denying citizens the right to speak and address the City Council regarding important city actions like firing the City Attorney and the City Manager prior to the City Council taking actions on those items.
The news comes just hours after a heated city meeting in which Councilman Steven Thompson accused Mayor Javier Joven of illegal action for signing a contract worth $338,000 without consulting the Council.
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