THE SPECTATOR: IMPROVEMENT NEEDED IN COMMUNITY RELATIONS

  

The Brenham City Council recently renewed the contract of City Manager James Fisher for another year.  While it didn’t surprise me that they chose to renew Fisher’s contract…especially in the midst of a pandemic…what was surprising was the amount of praise heaped upon him by the Mayor and Councilmembers.  Anyone who follows the happenings of Brenham’s city government knows the number of controversies that have plagued Fisher’s first 3 years of employment.  Besides the trash and recycling fiasco, there have been many other changes that have been questioned by not only the public, but by business leaders of our community.

It’s not just the changes themselves that are disturbing, but also Fisher’s approach to implementing them.  Several Brenham and Washington County business leaders have told me that if you question him or disagree with him about something, he cuts you out of the process.  This has happened to Brenham’s Economic Development Foundation and to the Brenham Community Development Corporation Board…both of which are filled with prominent business people.  Our County Judge and the County Commissioners experienced that in Fisher’s first year as City Manager.  While the relationship with these groups may be a little better at the moment, there remains a degree of distrust.  And it’s not just on the local level.  I’ve heard the same comments from the State.

And that’s what bothers me the most about the over the top positive comments from our City Council following his contract renewal.  They are aware that much of Brenham’s business community is unhappy with the job Fisher has done.  And, they’ve been told that he needs to do a better job of getting along with business leaders, and working with them for the good of the City.  Brenham is not Austin or Houston.  Our City Manager cannot run the City as if he’s in his own little kingdom, where only his word counts.  It takes business leaders and members of the community to help keep our town special, and a great place to live.  I sincerely hope that all of the praise was just for Fisher’s ego, while behind closed doors he was told that big improvements in community relationships are needed.

Brenham deserves someone running the City who can get along with others, who doesn’t shut people out who disagree with him.  Fisher’s way of doing business and dealing with others needs to change.  We’ll see what happens over the next 12 months.

And that’s the way it looks to this Spectator.

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19 Comments

  1. Brenham’s economic development board has had a choke hold on the average blue collar wage here for decades. Why? To protect the profits of the businesses owned by the business leaders who own the Homeboy businesses. Fisher saw right thru this and the establishment is still crying the blues. Dozens of missed opportunities to increase the averages wages here thru numerous decades have stifled this community. It will take a decade to reverse. The sanitation service change was a good business Decision based on costs. No profit, just loss. Sound decision. He may not be the greatest, but he is a big improvement in many areas. The salary increase should have been withheld until the revenues are on the increase again.

  2. Because people whose opinions are not the same as others are frowned upon in this community. Good or bad, right or wrong, if you rock the boat you are liable to get tossed out. Used to be that old Brenham money ruled the roost and they kinda looked out for those of us who lived in Brenham and didn’t have the same clout. Now the powers that be are brought in from outside the community for the most part, the old Brenham money is gone as their kids took it with them to the city, and we are all stuck getting tossed to the side. Those of us that have lived all our lives in Brenham try as we can to voice our opinions but you really have to be careful or you’ll be outcast. As they say, you have to pick your battles. I , for one, am glad that I can voice my opinion without having to risk my job. Maybe that helps you understand the pseudonyms.

  3. The city council and Mayor are jokes. They approved mandatory unpaid leave to workers adding up to an “estimated savings from the unpaid leave … $132,000.” built a water park, added electric car charging stations and now give the City manager a $3500 pay increase. They didn’t have money for the workers but the had it for the City Manager and their stupid projects. Vote these clowns out! Here is the City Councils email info… please let them know.

    and don’t forget they cut your trash service in half but did not lower the cost.

    https://www.cityofbrenham.org/city_government/mayor_and_council/index.php

  4. Tom Whitehead Sr. Originated the Spectator years ago. Great his grandson has kept it going & we as Citizens can be thankful because the Spectator is NOT GOING to SHOVE this under the rug. He will produce results & not let Fisher run this town in the ground. Now Citizens need to come forward & get Fisher removed from City Manager. The people of Fornay Texas bit this bullet in the bud by removing him & same can be done here.

    1. Agreed You do have to wonder why James Fisher who served as City Manager in Forney, Texas less than a year and he was terminated. Also according to what I have researched The city of Forney had to pay him $200,000 severance pay. That should have been a Red Flag when he applied for the job in Brenham, But I guess Its who you know that Counts , Right ??

  5. Jame Fisher, along with a few council members, have forgotten that the citizens of this city employee you, and as such, answer to the citizens, not the other way around. The government doesn’t rule the people in this great country, and we need to remember that. While some council members are simply wanting to keep calm waters and wait out their final terms, there are a few council members actively trying to get involved and make positive changes. As citizens, we need to continually be pushing ALL council members (we’re looking specifically at the man seated in the middle) to make the changes needed at the top level of leadership in this city. The “Good ole boy approach” isn’t working and doesn’t represent the population of the great city of Brenham. James Fisher needs to be removed from the management of our city before he makes too many decisions that can have lasting impacts. To our city council, do what is right, not what it easy. You were not elected to be James Fisher’s friend. If you don’t want to actively make positive changes, please step aside so we can get someone in office that will.

  6. If everyone is so upset at the city and the way things are run. Why do we keep voting in the same ones over and over. The only way you are going to change things it at the ballot box. We need to recruit good citizen to the council people that care about the city.

  7. This comment really has nothing to do with this particular article, but I’m curious why publishing the actual names of those who reply is not required. I realize this would require more monitoring and verification but from my perspective as a reader, it not only would be helpful in understanding the lens from which their viewpoint is based, but also could provide some accountability and possible action toward addressing the situation or concern, as well as to cause pause as to the perceived tone of the comment. Toward making things better…

  8. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. These people in power do not care about your voice, my voice or anybody else’s voice. We are on the brink of communism in this country and have been betrayed time and time again by these parasites that we elect. This town is being ran into the gutter. Leaders all across this nation have betrayed us, lied to us and robbed us. It happens time and time again yet we keep hoping and wishing for the best. Those times are over. I for one am sick of it. There are a lot of things going on in this town that if the citizens knew about, they would move or storm the court house. The days of Brenham as those who have grown up here know, are over.

  9. I love this right here but sad to say Mr.Fisher won’t even look at or acknowledge this. The city council will disagree 1000000000%. The city council only takes care of their buddies and friends. This pay raise is a slap in the face of all city workers who had to take a week off with no pay.

    1. Example: The “Sham” they did not involve the public with decisions on our trash and sanitation. They are another example of the so called “good ol boys” putting more of our money in each other’s pockets. …And stop turning this beautiful town into a town or bars and barbecue.

  10. I am a resident of Brenham and I also own a business that employees over 100 people in Brenham. This dic tator thinks he he can just refuse meetings with me and my other partners when there are serious issues that need to be discussed. I do not understand why they renewed his contract and gave him a raise.

    Be a true leader and public servant. Don’t forward my email to someone else and tell them to essentially “handle him” and blow me off repeatedly.

    Sounds like I am not the only one that gets treated this way. Hopefully others will feel like this is a safe place to voice their grievances.

    Thanks again Spectator!

  11. As I have further reflected upon this story, the comments that have been made, and the feelings that seem to exist about city management by many in our community, I think it is time for the city council to speak out on this issue. How about having members of the council come in to the KWHI studio for an extensive interview about the things that are taking place in the city and for them to defend the decisions they are making. Allow tax payers to call in and ask them questions. It is time they engage in a real effort to communicate and listen to the voters. The city historically has been well managed and well run, and now it appears to be chaos being run by a bunch of “good ole boys” that will not fight for the voters. I challenge the council to actually listen to the voters.

  12. While I am not a city of Brenham resident, for those who are, you have the right to file a public information request (PIR) with the city for any and all emails, contracts, memos, etc. generated by any City of Brenham department or employee. You can specify a range of dates, or a project that you are interested in learning more about, and especially what the city and its employees are communicating between each other and any outside sources. Be SURE to indicate that you only want to INSPECT the documents, not take possession of them, or else you may end up with a $0.25 per page photocopying charge. To inspect documents, the city must run photocopies of everything requested, and provide them to you at a city facility for you to inspect. You will not be able to take possession of them, however you likely could photograph them with a phone. Any documents that have legal material in them will likely be excluded; the city of Brenham legal department will be contacted if what you ask for is restricted and you will be notified.

  13. Great post, It took a lot of Bravery to post this, In this town if someone speaks out against a “Leader” They usually are the victim of Retaliation. Maybe its time for a “Vote of No confidence Petition , By all the Business leaders in Brenham that have been impacted by Mr Fischer’s Control Issues .

  14. Good job Spectator….glad someone really sees the REAL city manager and the job that he is suppose to be doing. Once again great job on your article Spectator.

  15. It seems like Mr. Fisher is running the town as if he were the line dictator and I’m glad this issue has been brought to light. If this is the way he is doing business then there is no need to keep him around. Just an opinion and obviously I’m not alone in thinking this way! Thanks Spectator for bringing this issue further into the light!

  16. Thank you Spectator. This needed to be said. Brenham hired you Mr. Fisher, it’s your job to work with and listen to those whom have something to say, whether you agree with them or not I am sure all of our tax dollars pay your salary so therefore you work for us.
    Keep shoving their concerns and ideas under the carpet and you will eventually trip over it.

  17. I am so glad to see this opinion piece, it is spot on. The city council seems out of touch with the people who vote for them, or else they don’t care about the opinions of the voters, not sure which it is, but it is a bad look. The garbage fiasco is properly called out here, along with the many other issues mentioned. City Management, you work for US the voters, your job is to work to benefit the citizens of this city, not yourselves or your little empire. I have had enough of what is happening and it is time for the council to see how the citizens view the poor performance of the city and it’s lack of response to citizens concerns.

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