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City Manager responds to MPO change

In a Digital News Desk interview last Friday, Eads maintained his disappointment over the situation but said he agrees with the decision.
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - A decision to make a committee that oversees city and county road projects independent has one local leader speaking out.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO is made up of officials from the city and county, as well as TxDot and El Metro.

While the situation was a shock to City Manager Robert Eads, he says they will move forward with the change.

Back in May, former MPO and City Planning Director Kirby Snideman revealed during an MPO meeting that the city had too much say on decisions that are supposed to be made solely by the organization.

Therefore, Snideman suggested that the MPO be independent, the MPO director be separate from the city planning director, and that financial responsibility of the organization be taken from the city and moved to the county.

What he said came as a surprise to several city officials, including City Manager Robert Eads.

“I wasn’t notified of any of it, like I found out during the meeting that all of this was happening,” said Eads.

In a Digital News Desk interview last Friday, Eads maintained his disappointment over the situation but said he agrees with the decision.

What Eads didn’t understand is taking fiscal responsibility away from the city and moving it to the county.

“What I don’t want to do is go from maybe an imperfect system and continue it to be imperfect. If we’re going to perfect it, lets perfect it, let’s fix it right, lets go ahead and make it its own organization but truly make it it’s own organization.”

Eads foresees an issue with city employees transitioning into MPO employees.

“If you have a City of Laredo employee who has insurance and benefits and they go and are then employed with by the MPO the MPO doesn’t provide them those benefits and so these individuals are going to have to make a choice, am I going to the MPO that may or may not provide me exactly what I’m getting with the city. All those little questions had not been asked because I hadn’t been told, none of us had been told so now I have a planning department over there that is still rather lost, unfortunately, because the planning director did not go ahead and follow through with a lot of this.”

It will be a challenge but Eads says they will work with the situation.

You can watch the full interview on the KGNS Facebook page by clicking on the videos tab.

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