EDITORIAL: Port Arthur needs forces of unity, stability

November 10, 2017 GMT

Port Arthur, which has experienced its ups and downs over the years, is in a valley again. People in that town who care about its future must get it out.

The City Council discussed firing City Manager Brian McDougal in closed session this week, though it took no action. McDougal hired prominent Jefferson County attorney Cory Crenshaw to remind the council that, among other things, he has a contract and can’t be fired without cause - or payout.

McDougal came to the city in 2015 with a reputation as a reformer, with full knowledge of the city government’s problems. He quickly instituted various changes, including reducing the large number of overdue water bills and handling city finances in a professional manner.


This week also saw the Port Arthur Police Association hold a vote of no confidence on Police Chief Patrick Melvin, hired just over a year ago. The department has had much turmoil in that span, with several senior members resigning or claiming they were forced out. Several lawsuits from those dismissals are pending.

Melvin gamely said he is “looking forward to working with the association to address their concerns and issues.” Yet when 85 percent of the association’s members vote against their chief, that task will hardly be easy.

The city is still dealing with an employee corruption scandal that rivaled that in Beaumont ISD. This week the city sued four people, including two former employees, for the misuse of city-issued credit cards in a gasoline theft scheme that led to their arrests last year.

There’s no good time for this kind of chaos in any city, but right after a devastating flood is about the worst.

People of good will in Port Arthur, from neighborhoods to churches to businesses, cannot stand by and just watch this happen.

They must step forward and tell those in leadership positions that the city needs order and vision now - perhaps now more than ever. In turn, those leaders must realize that this is not the time for petty political feuds or score-settling.

Harvey brought enough problems to Port Arthur. The city shouldn’t needlessly create any more.


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