Montgomery, September 24 – City of Montgomery Mayor Sara Countryman, City Administrator Jack Yates, and Councilwoman Rebecca Huss have placed popular Police Chief Jim Napolitano’s job back on the chopping block during the Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 6 p.m., City Council meeting at 101 Old Plantersville Road, Montgomery, Texas. Item 15(b) on the agenda is the “personnel matter” involving Chief Napolitano’s job.
Napolitano may request, under the Texas Open Meetings Act, that the Council conduct the portion of the meeting in the open rather than in a closed “executive session” as the Council has intended. Citizens will have the opportunity to speak during citizen comments prior to the time when the City Council takes up the Napolitano agenda item.
At the September 11 City Council meeting, several dozen Montgomery citizens appeared to speak in favor of Napolitano when Countryman, Yates, and Huss had placed Napolitano’s job on the agenda then as well. After dozens of citizens expressed their support for Napolitano and after Napolitano made clear that he wanted to hold the executive session before the entire open meeting of citizens, which is his right under the Texas Open Meetings Act, Mayor Sara Countryman and City Councilwoman Rebecca Huss who had pushed for the termination ultimately had to table the action.
The vote to table any action was 4 to 1 with Councilman John Champagne voting against.
The Golden Hammer has confirmed that the Montgomery City Attorney informed Napolitano after the meeting that the City of Montgomery deferred any action also because they had failed to provide Napolitano with any written notice or information concerning why he was on the City Council agenda for a “no confidence” vote. Additionally, this newspaper has confirmed that, since Councilwoman Rebecca Huss was unable to procure the removal of Napolitano and his replacement with Patrol Officer Tim Bauer, a political ally of hers, she and Bauer intend to bring criminal charges against Napolitano with the Public Integrity Unit of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. No criminal action has occurred against Chief Napolitano by press time.
Law enforcement representatives from the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office spoke in favor of Napolitano on September 11 and expressed their appreciation for the professional manner in which the City of Montgomery Police conduct themselves and cooperate with other law enforcement agencies.
Napolitano is a highly respected veteran of law enforcement. He was an Agent with the United States Secret Service and worked on the Presidential Detail of President George H.W. Bush. Napolitano worked as a Sergeant in the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office as well as for several other law enforcement agencies.
On Sunday, September 9, 2018, The Golden Hammer published an article, which a senior official in the Montgomery City government had written and submitted anonymously. The Editorial Board of this newspaper confirmed the identity of the letter writer and confirmed the factual statements made in the letter with three other sources before publishing the letter.
The anonymous letter stated that Bauer is unhappy with Napolitano for disciplining him after an incident at the Police Department earlier this year. Bauer is close politically with City Administrator Jack Yates and with Huss. Bauer remains a patrol officer but he’s assigned to night duty, another source of his unhappiness according to the letter.
Citizens clearly had an enormous impact on the actions of the City Council on Tuesday, September 11.