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Watkins meeting with mayor behind closed doors

Watkins meeting with mayor behind closed doors

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The Bryan City Council has gone into executive session meetings three times today after taking a break to discuss the budget in open session and, later, for the mayor to talk to City Manager David Watkins behind closed doors.

Mayor Jason Bienski recently came out of an hour-long meeting with Watkins and went back into discussions with the council. Watkins opted to leave for the day to consider what he talked about with the city's top elected official.

Watkins' employment contract has been listed on the agenda for each of the past seven executive sessions, but for reasons not fully explained by the council to the public.

Based on agenda wording and lack of details coming out of the council chambers, speculation is that the meeting may lead to Watkins' dismissal, including negotiations over a potential resignation.

According to Watkins' contract, if the majority of the council opted to ask him to leave, they'd have to pay him a lump cash payment equal to one year of his base salary, car allowance, all accrued vacation and sick leave, as well as insurance premiums for a year and conversion of life insurance to an individual policy. The amount totals more than $157,800.

Watkins hasn't received a raise in two years because of budget constraints; most other city employees have not received pay hikes either. It's not known whether employees at the city -owned BTU, including General Manager Dan Wilkerson, have received a pay increase because that budget isn't open to the public.

Performance evaluations obtained by The Eagle through an open records request earlier this year showed that each of the past three years resulted in excellent reviews of Watkins from the council.

The city manager's position is one of five the council directly oversees.

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