Council to discuss city manager, sports complex

Mica Lunt of T2 Professional Consultant speaks with Odessa City Council members Tuesday, March 14, 2023, about prioritizing the qualities they’d like to see in a new city manager. (Kim Smith | Odessa American)

The City of Odessa’s new sports complex and new city manager will be the hot topics during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the city council.

The council is scheduled to discuss the appointment of Texas Republican Party Executive Director John Beckmeyer as the city’s newest city manager.

Beckmeyer’s appointment will come nearly eight months after the council voted 5-2 to terminate City Manager Michael Marrero without explanation. Billing and Collections Director Agapito Bernal has been serving as interim city manager.

Back in March, the city council worked with T2 Professional Consulting to outline exactly what they wanted in Marrero’s replacement.

The council stated the new city manager must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in public administration, business administration, management or a related field. In addition, they must have three or more years experience as a city manager, assistant city manager or as a department head in a city of similar size to Odessa.

According to LinkedIn, Beckmeyer has an associate’s degree in animal science from Western Texas College and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Sam Houston State University.

Beckmeyer has been the executive director of the Republican Party of Texas since July 2021 and is the chief operating officer of the STEM Software/Musketball Group in Odessa since January 2019. He joined the Musketball Group in 2017.

LinkedIn shows he has held a variety of positions for companies involved in software development and e-commerce industries.

Fifty people applied for the position, but the list of finalists was narrowed to four. Three candidates were interviewed; a fourth withdrew.

According to his proposed contract, Beckmeyer’s base salary will be $238,000 annually and he’ll receive a $600-a-month car allowance.

Should the city council ever terminate Beckmeyer, he’d receive six months’ salary plus any unused unileave days.

Marrero’s annual salary was also $238,000 and he had a $950-a-month car allowance. Under the terms of his contract, he was due an entire year’s salary upon his termination.

Documents obtained by the Odessa American under the Texas Public Information Act revealed Marrero’s attorney, Iwana Rademaekers, told City Attorney Dan Jones back in March the city had paid Marrero some of what he was due, but he had not yet received his annual salary as his contract dictated.

Rademaekers told Jones if the city did not pay her client within 30 days, he would pursue “all legal remedies available to him, including compensatory damages and the attorneys’ fees he has incurred.”

As of June, Rademaekers said the issue has not been resolved, but declined to comment further.

According to the agenda for the council’s 6 p.m. meeting, the city council is also scheduled to accept P Bar Parks Bell Ranch’s donation of 100 acres for the new sports complex.

Council members are also expected to discuss naming the sports complex and naming its board of directors. They’ll also talk about the management of the complex.

Larry Bell and his family announced a few months ago they wanted to donate 100 acres to the city so it can build a $50 million sports complex in the Parks Bell Ranch area, north of Faudree Road.

The 80,000-100,000 square foot complex will feature 20 volleyball courts, 10 basketball courts and a track, plus 8-12 multi-purpose fields for soccer, football and lacrosse and up to eight baseball/softball fields.

City officials hope the complex will be paid for by corporate sponsorships and private donations, hence the need to set up a nonprofit organization.

The Odessa City Council agreed to hire Synergy Global for $15,000 on Feb. 14 to conduct a sports complex feasibility study. More than 3,100 residents participated in a 10-question online survey gauged to determine their top priorities and several more residents attended two community meetings on the facility.

Back in May, Councilmember Mark Matta said the exact details about who will be running the facility and how much that will cost had yet to be worked out.

“I think it’s gonna probably be a partnership. (Synergy Global) will probably have the bulk of it, maintaining it, managing the daily operations, the maintenance of it. The city is going to also partake in that, in some form or fashion, but that’s gonna be worked out in the details later on. Right now, it does seem like Synergy or some other third-party management is going to come in and do the bulk of it,” Matta said at the time.

The only thing the Bell family asked in return was for a five-acre park to be included in the project that will be dedicated to Amy Doris Bell, who died at the age of 33 in May 2014.

Attorney Tommy Sheen is also scheduled to give a presentation on his investigation into a series of Odessa Fire Rescue hazing incidents and make recommendations.

Thirteen cadets badly burned their hands on asphalt during a training exercise last August.

Sheen has said the incident happened during four days of hazing and he accused former OFR Chief John Alvarez of covering up the incident — an allegation Alvarez has flatly denied.

A now-retired training chief received a five-day suspension in connection with the injuries and a training captain received a written reprimand.