FORMER BRENHAM MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGE SAYS CITY DID NOT NOTIFY HIM UPON MAKING DECISION TO REMOVE HIM

  

The former municipal court judge for the City of Brenham says he found out secondhand that he was no longer employed with the city.

Bill Kendall (left), with wife Royceanna, as he is sworn in May 1, 2015 as Municipal Judge, with Mayor Milton Tate performing the ceremony.
(Mary-Janet)

Bill Kendall was removed from his position Thursday, after a unanimous vote from the Brenham City Council. Kendall, who formerly served as City Prosecutor, had been the presiding judge since May 2015.  He was reappointed last year for a term set to expire next December.

According to Kendall, he found out today (Friday) through friends that he had been removed from his position. He said, as of this afternoon, the city had not reached out to him to directly notify him of the council’s decision.

In addition, according to Kendall, he was never brought in for any of the council’s executive sessions to discuss his position with the city. Those executive session discussions date back to June.

When asked the reasoning for removing Kendall from the position, City Manager James Fisher said the city does not comment on personnel issues. He said the council will discuss the vacant position at a later date.

Kendall told KWHI that, while executive session information is privileged, he has had some citizens tell him the council was possibly concerned about him having more than one judicial position. Kendall also serves as Precinct Four Justice of the Peace in Washington County.

Kendall said it was a possibility, but not a certainty, that the council felt he was unable to devote his time fully to the city. He said he was disappointed in the council’s decision, but knows that the council had its reasons and acted on them.

According to Texas local government code, general grounds for removal from office include incompetency; official misconduct; intoxication on or off duty, caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage; a written petition for removal; and criminal conviction. Kendall said, while it may not be fair to speculate the council’s reasoning behind closed doors, he did not think his removal fit under any of those grounds.

KWHI has reached out to Brenham City Attorney Carey Bovey, and is awaiting his answer for clarification.

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15 Comments

  1. The main reason this happens is that the same people keep getting voted in over and over. With few changes. The people need to take a stand and vote them out at the next election. We need good people to run against them. Where are our party leaders? Time for a change not only does the swamp in Washington need draining. so do others.

  2. Well if you knew the real reason he’s been fired you wouldn’t praise him at all , in fact you would say shame on him and say fire him immediately.

    1. Well if you know, why not say what it is. Posts that hint at the Judge doing something wrong without telling us what it is serve to hurt not only the judge by creating rumors, but the public who still has to put faith in him as a sitting judge in his elected position.

  3. That’s the reality of life when there is a “chain of command” type set up. Do you think that company’s bring in employees for a face to face before decisions are made to lay off workers? At least his position and place was decided on by an elected group and not by some owner/CEO or monarch….

  4. I hope Judge Kendall runs for Brenham City Council in the next election. Then he’d have a chance to face his accusers and also ensure this type of treatment doesn’t befall future municipal judges. Just my opinion.

    1. Another example of our great city council rubber stamping anything the city manager wants. Our elected officials are letting us down and not fulfilling their oath of office. I hope everyone of the city council is voted out of office.

  5. Hmm! Sounds like the city fathers are at work again. How can you remove someone from office without a face to face. The law says everyone has that right to face their accusers.
    Also the residents have the right to know. What kind of signal is being sent. It should be up to Mr. Kendall weather or not to make the reason public.

  6. If the City didn’t tell him then that is a shame. I worked with this judge for 3 years. He was very professional and fair. I have known him for 20 years. It seems to me you can’t release someone from employment without a written complaint that HR signs and the employee sings. That’s what is legal. Makes me sick if the City just did this with out following the laws. City you think you are above the law? I will side with Judge Kendall. Shame on the City.

    1. I agree with your assessment of Judge Kendall, he is a good man who is fair and considers the facts of each case.

      I am a very seasoned HR professional and the belief that a written and signed complaint that the HR department and the employee signs is required to terminated someone is incorrect. There is no law that requires this. In fact, Texas is a “Right to Work State”, one aspect of this is that employers and employees can terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason (except for reasons that violate federal discrimination laws).

      Another poster on another article posted about this termination states that there is something in the Texas Constitution that prohibits someone from holding two positions like this. I am not sure if this is true because I have known of other situations where a person has more than one such job. Check out the city judge in Rose Bud (the speed trap capital of Texas), he is the city judge for more than one city. However, if this was the reason the city ended Judge Kendall’s employment I think they should say so. It clears away any doubt that this is about performance or some other conflict and it creates transparency. If it is for another reason, they should at least tell Judge Kendall so that he can have peace about the decision.

  7. City judge is not elected. He can be fired like anybody else.

    JP is elected and must be removed according to that code that’s referenced.

    1. Yes, it sounds like his position is not like other positions like city management who are given special treatment in other city positions. I have heard that other management positions are often paid to leave their positions, sometimes as mush as a couple of hundred thousand dollars, and it doesn’t matter how long they have been employed. Maybe only a few months. I would like to thank Mr. Kendall for his many years of dedicated service to the people of Brenham and his continued dedication to the entire community as Justice of the Peace.
      Thank you, Honorable J.P. Kendall.

    2. I really don’t care how the law is and what can be done. In my world and Gods world it’s called integrity, honesty, and the biggest thing is transparency. If that is truly what happened and he had no idea then it’s not cool. Period.

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