An Aransas Pass man who will interview for the job of Brownwood city manager next month was named in a grand jury investigation into allegations of official oppression when he was city manager in that city, the Aransas Pass Progress newspaper reported in May 2006.
According to the May 24 edition of the newspaper, a San Patricio County Grand Jury issued a memo critical of the city after its investigation into official oppression because of sexual harassment complaints against Scott Thompson.
“It was a nasty political fight between factions. There is absolutely no truth to any of it,” Thompson said by phone from Aransas Pass, where he last worked as city manager in November 2006. “There is absolutely nothing to it.”
Thompson said the fight was the result of a $300 million harbor development project. He said he left City Hall in an exodus of city officials.
The Progress article was e-mailed unsolicited to the Bulletin Thursday.
Former Brownwood City Manager Gary Butts, who is helping in the city manager’s search as a consultant, said the city has received the same information. He said he had not read the Progress article but said Interim City Manager James Campbell told him the gist of its contents.
“We’ll proceed on with the interview, and obviously that will be topics for discussion,” Butts said. “We’re well aware of what is out there and we will do due diligence.”
He said any candidate who is named a finalist after the initial interviews next month will be subject to extensive background checks.
Thompson, identified by Brownwood officials as Jeffrey Thompson, was one of six candidates the Brownwood City Council selected for interviews for the vacant city manager’s job. He is currently unemployed, officials said.
Interviews are scheduled for five of the six the evenings of Aug. 6-7. One of the candidates is not scheduled for an interview because of a vacation conflict, Butts said.
Thompson will be the first candidate interviewed. It is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. Aug. 6, a Monday, Butts said.
According to the Progress article, the grand jury issued a memo on March 10, 2006, criticizing the Aransas Pass city administration and city council, stating that Thompson had created a hostile work environment that the city had city council had added to it by failing to investigate the harassment complaints.
The complaints were filed by a municipal court clerk and were heard by a grand jury that convened in October 2005, the newspaper reported. The grand jury took no action against Thompson, according to the paper.
The grand jury's report stated that "the harassment was not of such a sexual nature … so as to support a criminal charge of official oppression” but said the city manager and city council had exacerbated problems, the newspaper reported.