RICHWOOD — The incoming Richwood city manager’s job as the Jersey Village police chief ended in termination in October, according to documents shared with The Facts.
This is something Richwood City Council was well aware of before making its final decision to hire Eric Foerster, Mayor Steve Boykin said.
In a termination letter dated Oct. 25, Jersey Village City Manager Austin Bleess called Foerster’s management style “derogatory and threatening towards employees.” Bleess did not respond to multiple messages left on his office phone over the last week.
Foerster declined to comment but specified that is because he has ongoing negotiations with Jersey Village and expects it to be “cleared up pretty soon.”
An attorney for the firm that represents Jersey Village, Olson & Olson, declined to comment. Jersey Village Mayor Andrew Mitcham did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
There was a lot more to the situation than the letter reflects, Boykin said, citing some “small-town politics.”
“We did a pretty extensive investigation,” the mayor said. “It all showed up in the background check, and what didn’t show up, we talked to him about and we feel comfortable that everything is pretty much taken care of and it’s not an issue.”
Jersey Village is a city in Harris County, just northwest of Houston. The population is about 8,000 while Richwood has about 4,000 people.
Merrilee Beazley, a self-proclaimed government watchdog and Jersey Village resident who obtained Foerster’s termination letter through a public records request, said she was disappointed her tax dollars helped fund Foerster’s salary for nine years.
Foerster’s contract with Richwood indicates he will start Tuesday and stay for at least two years. The contract requires him to move to Richwood within six months and the city will pay him $4,000 to do so.
His salary is $90,000 a year along with $500 a month for a vehicle allowance, according to the contract.
If he is terminated before the agreed-upon term without good cause, the city will pay him six months of his salary in severance, according to the contract.
City Council instituted quarterly status review sessions and six-month and annual evaluations of Foerster’s performance, the contract states. The term of the agreement and compensation may be part of this evaluation process, according to the contract.