Paris Council gets heated over board appointees

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PARIS, Tex. (KXII) -- Tensions were high at council Monday during a discussion about appointing, rather than voting, on a board vacancy for the economic development corporation.

"It is therefore both shocking a ironic that before we have even utilized this procedure for the very first time, an agenda item is placed that completely contradicts this policy," Paris Mayor Dr. Steve Clifford.

The council adopted a new policy two weeks ago designed to give all applicants for city boards and commissions a fair and equal chance by drawing their names from a hat and filling vacancies in that order by vote.

"The only reason that I had made this request and suggested it to Ms Portugal is for the continuity," said PEDC Director Michael Paris.

The PEDC director requested Councilwoman Paula Portugal put current board chairman Richard Manning on the table for an appointment instead, since his term on the board is expiring.

Mr. Paris feared losing out on the looming deal with American SpiralWeld Pipe Company because he says Manning played an integral role in negotiations with the company so far.

"If we changed our policy before we used it, it would jeopardize the integrity of this council and we don't need that," said district one councilwoman Renae Stone.

The council left Chairman Richard Manning's position up to fate, according to the policy passed last meeting.

Applicants were drawn from a hat and then voted on.

Richard Manning did keep his position after all.

"American Spiral weld has not made a decision yet on their choice to either be in Texas or Oklahoma," said Paris.

The company promises 120 new jobs and an immeasurable economic boost for the area should they choose to build their plant in town.

The city of Paris was announced as one of two finalist locations in December, with no time line on a final decision.