LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Lufkin City Council has promoted its deputy city manager to city manager in a 4-3 vote Tuesday night.
Following an executive session, Mayor Bob Brown entertained a motion to select Keith Wright as the city manager, which was seconded.
The council members who voted against Wright told KTRE they were doing so specifically because they don't believe the selection process was done right.
In a roll call voice vote during the meeting, council members Victor Travis, Robert Shankle and Sarah Murray voted against Wright and they say it's because the appointment process wasn't done correctly.
Shankle said he has a voicemail from Mayor Bob Brown which he believes proves that the decision to hire Wright as city manager had already been made before Tuesday's meeting.
Mayor Brown told KTRE Tuesday night that two weeks ago in executive session, council members narrowed their selection for city manager from two candidates to one, Keith Wright. Brown says in that session, the group held an informal poll, which supported Wright's hiring 4-to-3. But Wright was not offered the job based on that poll. Brown says that poll was used to begin building the parameters of Wright's offer.
Shankle says nothing was supposed to be decided before Tuesday's meeting.
But Wright says he has always believed the position was open and someone else could be selected.
Wright says he has been in the city for 20 years, considers the appointment an honor and is ready to take on the challenge.
Travis said that although he has questions about the hiring process he supports Wright as city manager.
Shankle said he is not going to let the issue go. He says Tuesday's decision is just the beginning and he plans to bring any alleged violations to the district attorney.
Mayor Brown also told KTRE Tuesday that Shankle brought up the voicemail during Tuesday's executive session in the presence of the city attorney, and that the attorney did not bring up any concerns with it.
Wright tells us he will officially begin his duties as city manager tomorrow.
Wright replaces Paul Parker, who has retired as city manager.