City Backs Down
SAN ANGELO, TX — City Councilman Tommy Heibert singlehandedly called off the public shaming of a longtime City volunteer Tuesday morning. The regularly scheduled meeting of the San Angelo City Council called for the “evaluation, discipline, or dismissal” of City of San Angelo Development Corporation vice chairman John Bariou. The punitive action was to be conducted in executive session behind closed doors but Bariou’s name and range of his pending punishment was prominently printed on the public agenda.
Bariou receives no compensation for sitting on the COSA-DC board.
COSA-DC was the scene of a public flare up when board vice chair Bariou made a series of allegations about the board on which he serves and its relationship with City of San Angelo staff. COSA-DC manages the half-cent sales tax revenue fund and Bariou claimed it was not being run in accordance with State Statutes. Bariou also claimed the City staff was skimming money from the corporation to finance City staff salaries by overcharging the corporation for payroll, legal, and accounting services. Bariou is in effect a whistleblower.
In apparent retaliation for the discussion led by Bariou during the September 28 COSA-DC board meeting, his name was placed on the city council agenda suggesting he needed to be disciplined. Bariou said it was an attempt to defame him.
Although the damage was done, only one city councilman would speak up and it was Tommy Heibert. Heibert proposed that the agenda item be removed. Surprisingly, no other council member objected and all items concerning COSA-DC were removed from the council agenda.
What does this mean? When COSA-DC meets again on November 16, Vice Chair John Bariou will likely still be on the board. City officials backed down.