Joint meeting held, no action taken

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Pictured are both Fairfield (right) and Teague (left) city councils at Thursday night's meeting to discuss the impending lawsuit filed by the City of Teague against the City of Fairfield. Heading the discussion meeting were Fairfield Mayor Kenny Hughes and Teague Mayor James Monks. The meeting was held at Tri-County Golf Club at the Vineyards.
Photo by Shelly Pope

Both Fairfield and Teague city councils met in a joint council meeting Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Tri-County Golf Club. This meeting was designed to open dialog between the two cities regarding the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Department (TDCJ) Boyd Unit and the Interlocal Definitive Agreement (IDA) signed by the two parties.

"We agreed to take part in a group discussion," Fairfield Mayor Kenny Hughes said. "We believe there have been some misunderstandings but we are in the process of litigation and I'm not sure what we can discuss openly."

With the two governing bodies coming together for a first public meeting regarding this issue, tensions ran a little high in the room. At a time when these city council members were to communicate, the only people doing the talking were the lawyers.

The counsel for the City of Fairfield, David Tuckfield, took over the discussion. "This has been an eye-opening experience. We have sat together to discuss this situation, but litigation has been filed," Tuckfield said. "We need to be careful. It is important to share how we got here and where we go from here." Tuckfield went on to say the bottom line for Fairfield is that Roy Hill, Jeff Looney and the late Teague Mayor Ernest Pack are not around any longer and at the time, it was understood that Teague did not want anything to do with the operation or any dealing with the TDCJ facility. "We need to make sure that TDCJ is provided a good service and we can continue to be good neighbors," Tuckfield said. "Then, surprise, in April, things went very wrong. We have a financial question that needs to be answered, but we do not need litigation, we need to hire an auditor. I don't see a need for litigation. We feel under the gun because you filed a lawsuit. This puts us in a difficult position to negotiate." The City of Teague counsel, Andy Messer, opened his side of the conversation with a desire for the city mayors and council to speak together in a community effort to come together.

"We are trying to make some resolutions," Messer said. "I'm not here to cross examine. We are here for a free flow of conversation. Our desire is to continue the relationship between the two cities and to figure out a way to move forward from here."

Teague Mayor James Monks added that Teague called the meeting so there will be no misunderstanding between any of the members of the councils.

"We have been part of this from the beginning," Monks said. "We want to remain partners throughout this and into the future."

Teague City Administrator Theresa Prasil explained

 

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