City Attorney Moved To Unpaid Leave, Godeke Gets New Location

Published 02/13 2014 11:08PM

Updated 02/13 2014 11:53PM

Image from City of Lubbock
Image from City of Lubbock
By Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- City Council met Thursday night and moved the City Attorney to unpaid leave as well as voted on a new location for the Godeke library.

It was a 6-0 vote by the Council to change City Attorney Sam Medina's status. City Councilwoman Latrelle Joy recused herself from the vote because she represents Medina's son in his divorce proceedings.

In January, Medina held a press conference where he denied allegations of sexual assault he said were being made by his estranged daughter in law. At that press conference, Medina requested the Council place him on leave, saying he usually advises the Council when it comes to making those personnel decisions.

According to Mayor Glen Robertson, there were two reasons for the discussion and action Thursday. One being that Medina sent an email to the Mayor requesting the change, as well as Council facing the fact that there has been a change in the investigation.

"I got an email from Mr. Medina day before yesterday requesting that we change it from paid to unpaid leave," Mayor Robertson said. "He stated in email he didn't feel like it was fair to citizens of Lubbock for him to be paid while he's not working."

Earlier this week, the Lubbock County District Attorney named a special prosecutor to handle the case. That's another reason the Mayor said Medina's situation was discussed.

"It's been turned over to a criminal district attorney who has since turned over to a special prosecutor in Amarillo, so the facts changed a little bit, but main thing Sam Medina realized this would be a burden on our tax payers and he voluntarily requested the change and I think council agreed with it," Robertson said,

Robertson said he's not sure of a time table, though he thinks it could be about 6 months before there's a end.

"I think because this is such a high profile case, they will take their time, make sure they do a very thorough job and then it's gonna be his decision whether or not he turns it over to a grand jury," Robertson said.

Robertson said they will continue to put Medina's position on each regular City Council meeting going forward so that they will always have the ability to re-evaluate his situation, calling it "a fluid situation," knowing it's an on-going investigation.

The other decision of the night was the Godeke Library.

It was a 7-0 vote to move the Library to a new location at 5034 Frankford Avenue. The monthly rent there will be $6,315 for the first two years, according to the lease agreement attached to Thursday's agenda. That same lease shows the rent will go up to $9,472.50 a month.

They also negotiated the first 6 months rent free so they can save a little more.

"I'm real positive about this location and the community reaction has been really pretty positive," Jane Clausen, Library Director said.

Clausen was at the meeting Thursday for the unanimous vote.

The new location also got some praise from the council.

"I think it's going to be a good deal for the library," Councilman Floyd Price said.

"I think this new location is going to be a very workable arrangement for us," Councilman Jim Gerlt said. "I know it's not everything we wanted, but it beats a storage container."

Over a five year period, the new library will save the city about $800,000, and the city will also have the option of purchasing the space at the end of the five year agreement. Some council members did warn the library board to also consider thinking ahead now and continue to look for new locations, should this not be the best fit five years down the road.

The building does have to be remodeled to fit the library and make some changes before they could move in.

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