Big Spring City Manager Todd Darden was immediately dismissed at last night’s meeting of the Big Spring City Council with a vote of 4-3. The motion was made by District 3 Councilman Terry McDaniel and seconded by District 4 Councilwoman Gloria McDonald. Mayor Shannon Thomason, District 1 Councilman Raul Marquez, and District 2 Councilman Doug Hartman voted against.
Before making his motion, McDaniel stated that there had been a recent Open Records Request that brought to light $2.2 million in collections that can never be collected. McDaniel stated that there may have been a void in procedure, but, ultimately, Darden had cost the city $2.2 million dollars.
During discussion before the vote, McDonald stated that she had warmth for Darden but agreed with the motion to dismiss him. Councilwoman Camilla Strande said she echoed McDonald’s sentiments. District 6 Councilman Jim DePauw agreed with the motion to dismiss Darden but also appreciated good service to the city. Mayor Thomason advised that he had brought up the $2.2 million during a budget session and believed that Darden did not have the information needed to correct those issues.
Although Marquez and Hartman had nothing but good things to say about Darden, he was immediately dismissed from his position as City Manager.
Darden had been an employee of the City of Big Spring for approximately 35 years.
When asked if he would still be able to keep his retirement and benefits, McDaniel advised that Darden automatically receives a 1-year retirement.
"He's gonna get a year of pay. That is written in his contract," said McDaniel. "No matter if he is dismissed for fraud or criminal activity, he still gets it."
When asked why he chose to dismiss him immediately as opposed to not renewing his contract, McDaniel told KBest News that it was because of the various things that he had done recently.
"Consequently, I felt it should be immediate rather than hanging on for another year. If we only said that he got a, so to speak, 'bad' employment rating, he'd still was in office for another year," said McDaniel.
Soon the City of Big Spring will have an interim city manager and a new one will be appointed at a later date. That discussion is expected to take place at the next City Council Meeting scheduled for Sept. 22, 2020.