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Community News and Updates

Posted on: July 2, 2021

Leadership Progress Report from the Office of the City Manager

Interim City Manager

Interim City Manager Chaise Cary offers a status update relating to the staffing of key leadership roles within the city. We ask for your continued patience as we strive to offer transparency to our community through this restructuring process.

Leadership Progress Report from the Office of the City Manager

Today, Thursday, September 2, 2021, the Office of the City Manager is providing a Progress Report and nine-week check-in for the citizens of La Marque. This is not intended to be an all-encompassing list of City activities, but more of a status update relating to the staffing of key leadership roles within the city. We ask for your continued patience as we strive to offer transparency to our community through this rebuilding and restructuring process. 

On Thursday, July 1, 2021, Chaise Cary, former director of Public Works, was named Intern City Manager for the City of La Marque. On Friday, July 2, 2021, interim positions were named for the City Attorney, Fire Chief and Police Chief. Current employees began assuming responsibilities of Public Works Director, Development Services Director and Deputy City Manager. 

City Leadership and Staffing Update 

  • La Marque Finance Director launched a comprehensive fiscal investigation immediately after the leadership shift in early July 2021. The investigation is ongoing, and no criminal activity has been discovered to date.
  • On July 12, 2021, La Marque City Council approved opening a Request for Qualifications for a City Manager Search Consulting Firm on July 12, 2021. City Council approved Baker Tilly on August 9, 2021. The contract is under review, and then the search will begin. Once finalists are identified, citizens will have the opportunity to meet and greet with City Manager candidates.
  • After executing a search, La Marque City Council hired Kerri Pettijohn as Municipal Judge at a Special Meeting on August 9, 2021.
  • Currently, Mills Shirley is serving as our Interim City Attorney. A Request for Qualifications for Legal and Prosecutorial services was published August 25, 2021, and is scheduled for review on September 8, 2021.
  • Effective August 25, 2021, a professional consultant was hired to work directly with the City Manager, Interim Police Chief and the Emergency Management Coordinator as necessary to assist with overall strategic operations. Randall Aragon has been named Chief Public Safety Operations Advisor/Special Assistant to the City Manager. 
    • Chief Aragon served as the Chief of Police in La Marque from 2009 to 2014. 
    • He has 39 years of civilian law enforcement experience, of which 29 were served as a Police Chief. For police operations, Chief Aragon and Chief Waggoner will have equal and partnering roles in management of La Marque Police Department. 
    • Chief Waggoner will focus on administration, personnel and facilitates. Chief Aragon will focus on community outreach, and initiatives set forth by City Council and the City Manager’s office.
    •  Aragon has earned a Bachelor's in Business Management, a Master's in Management, is a graduate of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) National Executive Institute, and is a Texas Master Peace Officer. He has served as a management consultant and criminal justice advisor for numerous municipalities, police agencies and educational institutions.
    • He is an avid runner, passionate about littering and dumping programs, and plans to bring a comprehensive Community Policing Program back to La Marque. He and his wife are moving back to Texas to assume this role.
    • A ZOOM Meet & Greet with Chief Aragon will be scheduled soon. To get updates from the City, please register for e-notifications at connect.cityoflamarque.org.

Focus on La Marque Police Department 

LMPD had several vacancies before the leadership change. Chief Waggoner has made substantial progress:

  • Completed five internal promotions to fill PD leadership roles.
  • Approved implementation of FBI-LEEDA PIO & Public Relations tactics.
  • Hired two police officers, with a third in the final approval stages.
  • Worked with City Council on a $6,000 LMPD signing bonus program.
  • Commissioned a recruitment flyer/marketing campaign.
  • Scheduled an Entrance Exam for October 2021.

Forward Together

Thanks to the guiding support of La Marque City Council, and the dedication of our existing staff, there has been no reduction in City services during this transition.  

We know many citizens are asking similar questions – why did so many director-level employees decide to walk out on over a two-day period. Unfortunately, we do not have those answers. This is what we do know – we are strong and we are moving forward to brighter days.  

For any questions, please reach out to your Councilperson or contact City Hall at 409-938-9200. We promise to keep our citizens updated as progress continues. Please visit cityoflamarque.org for a full accounting of leadership changes that occurred on in July.  

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Original Post from July 1, 2021

Mayor Keith Bell and Interim City Manager Chaise Cary are planning a Town Hall Meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, to discuss the leadership changes within the City of La Marque. Citizens are encouraged to attend in person, join the conversation via Zoom or watch the live stream on YouTube. 

“It is important to have a firm foundation during changing times,” said Mayor Bell. “The swift action taken by Mr. Cary in the aftermath of recent events will bring a sense of familiarity as well as continued productivity to our community. Understanding the urgency this season has brought, we applaud the dedicated and deliberate moves made to bring calm and stability to our city staff and residents.” 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

On Thursday, July 1, 2021, a separation agreement was reached between La Marque City Council and City Manager Charles “Tink” Jackson. 

Chaise Cary was named is Interim City Manager by La Marque City Council. Before his appointment as Interim City Manager, Cary served as the Director of Public Works. He started as Assistant Public Works Director in 2013 and was promoted to Director in February of 2019. 

Cary has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Houston Bauer College of Business. He completed the Texas Certified Public Manager Program earlier this year. 

The appointment of an Interim Public Works Director is pending.

Derra Purnell, Director of Legal & Development Services, resigned effective Thursday, July 1. Robert E. Booth, the Managing Partner from Mills Shirley LLP in Galveston, has been named Interim City Attorney. The appointment of an Interim Development Services Director is pending. 

Friday, July 2, 2021

Assistant City Managers David Jordan and Charlene Warren resigned effective Friday, July 2, 2021. There are no plans to fill these positions at this time. 

Fire Chief Todd Weidman resigned effective July 2, 2021. Captain David Merryman has been appointed as Interim Fire Chief. 

Police Chief Kirk Jackson announced his retirement last month but changed his effective date from July 30, 2021, to July 2, 2021. Lieutenant Chad Waggoner has been named Interim Police Chief. 

Appointment of an Interim Assistant to the City Manager is pending, which will be responsible for administrative support in the Office of the City Manager, including responding to citizen inquires. 

Forward Together

Interim City Manager Chaise Cary would like to ensure the citizens of La Marque that there will be no reduction in city services and ask for your patience during this time of transition. 

“Our commitment to the people of La Marque is stronger today than yesterday,” said Cary. “We are moving forward, focused on the future and the long-term prosperity of La Marque.”

For emergencies, dial 911. To report a concern, please visit concern.cityoflamarque.org. To report after hours utility emergencies, such as a broken water main, report to LMPD Dispatch at 409-938-9269.