Look Ahead 2022

Further land and home development are the focus going in to 2022 for the City of Freeport, said Mayor Brooks Bass.

FREEPORT — An erosion of trust prompted at least one Freeport City Council member to vote to sever the city’s relationship with City Attorney Chris Duncan, a decision affirmed when two other members voted to terminate his contract.

Council voted 3-2 during its meeting Monday night to give Duncan the required 30-day notice that it was ending its contract with him. Mayor Brooks Bass, and councilmen Troy Brimage and Jerry Cain voted for the termination, while councilmen Jeff Pena and Councilman Mario Muraira were against it.

No official grounds for the termination for the decision were given after a closed session discussion about Duncan’s fate, but Cain said he had lost trust in Duncan.

“At this point in time, he was not working for Freeport,” Cain said. “I am not going to go into specifics out of respect to him and others. In my opinion, there has been a loss of trust in him as the city attorney, and in order for him to be an effective city attorney, all of those who lean on him need to be able to trust him, and I feel like we have lost that. “

Duncan’s contract requires either side give a 30-day notice if they chose to sever it, he said.

“If I wanted to quit Freeport, I would have to give a 30-day notice, and if they wanted to quit me, they would have to give me a 30-day notice, so that was done,” he said.

Council has not discussed how it will go about hiring a new city attorney, but a search will begin in the near future, Cain said.

“The city attorney is a very important position and one we can’t be without, so with council action last night, in about 30 days, we will start the process of hiring,” City Manager Tim Kelty said. “Council took action and we as staff will respond accordingly.”

Brimage, who made the motion to terminate Duncan’s contract, declined to comment Tuesday on the move, as did Bass.

Cain seconded the motion while Councilmen Jeff Pena said he would like the process of the termination to go fairly.

“I would like to make sure we go through that process so we can hold our staff accountable in a fair process. It’s not seemingly subjective or political,” Pena said.

Brimage had taken aim at Duncan last year over how the city attorney conducted an investigation into Pena’s purchase of the former Boys and Girls Club headquarters. Brimage believes Pena used inside knowledge as a member of the Freeport Economic Development Corp. to an unfair advantage in the purchase, but Duncan cleared Pena of any wrongdoing.

In March, Brimage called for an investigation into Duncan’s performance. Executive discussions about his concerns began during the council’s March 21 meeting.

Duncan, who remains the city attorney for Clute and Surfside Beach, said he has no hard feelings towards the city and only wants what is best.

“I grew up in Freeport and graduated from Brazosport High School and I will always have high hopes for the city,” Duncan said. “I wish the best for them and that the City of Freeport is able to achieve their potential. That’s why I wanted to be the city attorney of Freeport, to help them realize their potential and be the best they can be. It’s a bit sad, but it’s fine.”

Cain also wishes Duncan well.

“I think Duncan is a great guy. He’s smart, knowledgeable and likable, and all-around a good guy,” Cain said. “But there have been some issues that have come up recently and, in our opinion, due to what has come up, has been a case where Duncan is not a fit for Freeport. I’m sure he will continue to do great things with Clute and other cities.”

Raven Wuebker is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0152.

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mduncan1

Small town Texas politics at its best. Corruption, retaliation and a wink wink promise to be the next mayor and everything is swept under the rug. And a small town Texas newspaper that chooses not to report the story. What a dumpster fire.

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