Council re-hires Birdwell; Mayor claims other applicants 'more qualified'
WILMER – A 3-2 vote approved Crystol Birdwell as the newly re-hired city secretary of Wilmer during the Thursday, Aug. 4 council meeting.
Birdwell was previously fired twice from the city by two different mayors for the same position. The last firing took place September of 2008 when Mayor Don Hudson alleged Birdwell of failure to follow state laws on publishing and scheduling public hearings, failure to transcribe city council meeting minutes in a “timely fashion” and failure to keep an accurate record of the city’s financial records.
When asked for comment about her past Birdwell claimed the allegations were “unfounded.”
“Any allegations from previous city mayors were unfounded. I was not ‘fired’ three years ago, I was placed on unpaid leave and after an investigation with no findings of guilt, the city did a mutual separation agreement and I resigned,” stated Birdwell via an email interview.
Former City Secretary Alice Holloway moved to another city more than a month ago and the city has been looking for a replacement hire ever since.
“There were approximately 25 applications turned in and there were a few that qualified with experience,” said Mayor Jeff Steele.
“I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the city [to hire Birdwell] since she didn’t even fill out an application and there were more viable and more qualified candidates.”
According to Steele, Mayor Pro Tem Hector Pena made a motion to hire Birdwell with no talk to other council members besides Robert Wells and Candy Madrigal.
“It’s curious to me, when did they discuss Ms. Birdwell when she did not file an application?” questioned Steele.
Requests for comment from Pena were not returned as of press time.
Councilman Robert Turner and Councilwoman Vicky Vandygriff, the two opposing votes, were not aware of any discussion on Birdwell according to Steele.
Birdwell, who wasn’t been employed since she left the city three years ago, feels “great to be back in the office after the hiatus.”
“It is time to move forward as it is a new day in the city of Wilmer,” stated Birdwell.