Former CS Council Member Says Romei Linked to Brymer's Firing

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

Saturday, as former Arts Council Director P. David Romei was found guilty of misusing city money, former College Station City Council Member Chris Scotti looked on.

"I felt like I had somewhat of a weight lifted off my shoulders. Some of the hardest decisions I had to make while on city council were related in some way or another to Dr. Romei and the Arts Council," said Scotti.

Decisions Scotti said included his vote while on the city council, to fire then College Station City Manager Tom Brymer. The vote came during a regularly scheduled city council meeting, in July of 2005, but Brymer's job performance wasn't posted as a discussion item.

After debate in executive session, the council emerged just after 1a.m., and fired the city manager. Chris Scotti had only been on the council two-and-a-half months.

"I suspected at that point that something was going on at the arts council. There was a lot of money that had been flowing there even before I'd gotten on council I mean," said Scotti. "Mr Brymer was being resistant to investigating the arts council."

Scotti said Brymer was also resistant to providing information about funds given to the arts, so the council voted to review his position.

"But the Mayor, Mayor Silvia and Tom Brymer, the City Manager, have complete control of when and I felt like that was perpetually getting delayed," said Scotti.

"I suspect that David Romei at least was happy about that if not had some influence over that. He needed Tom Brymer to stay in place either to keep some of the things that were happening in secret, or to allow him to continue," said Scotti.

When asked how often Romei's name was brought up during that executive session, Scotti replied "I better not answer that. That's exactly about what was being said in executive session."

The discussion and firing of Brymer that July night was later found to be in violation of the open meetings act, but in the end, Brymer would not return to his post.

"I realize that from a legal standpoint it was wrong. From the community's standpoint I feel like we did what had to be done," said Scotti.

Now, over three years after that infamous city council meeting, Scotti said there are lessons to be learned from the entire Romei ordeal.

"It's going to require future community leaders to continuing to press for transparency in all organizations that they give funding to. This will not be the last time that people try to do these things, but I hope its the last time we let it happen," said Scotti.

Tom Brymer was later reinstated and put on administrative leave. Two weeks after he was fired, he and the city reached an agreement.

Brymer agreed not to sue, and resigned. The city, in turn, cleared his record and gave him a $177,000 severance package. Brymer is now the town manager in Westlake.

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