Former Commerce City Manager gains employment

Feb 3, 2012

CLEVELAND, TEXAS - Dion Miller is back in a city manager’s role nearly two years following his departure from the City of Commerce, where he was suspended and then ultimately resigned.

The City of Cleveland, Texas, located less than a hour outside of Houston, announced in late January they had hired Miller to lead the city. He’ll begin work there February 21.

“I didn’t think Commerce would be the last city I managed in but it just took longer than I thought it would to gain an offer of employment from a Texas city,” Miller told KETR. “That finally came to pass over a week ago from the City of Cleveland. So I’m looking forward to returning to the profession and to working with public officials.”

Miller was hired in Commerce in June 2008.

He resigned in April 2010, a month after the City Council voted 3-2 to suspend Miller during a contentious public meeting. Council members in favor of the suspension cited low morale among city staff, as well as other concerns.

Miller notes that the Cleveland City Council over a year ago dismissed a city manager without cause. But that doesn’t concern him going into the job.

“It’s part of the city management profession. I will say that I didn’t expect to leave Commerce as soon as I did but the personalities there just didn’t seem to work out well.”

Cleveland, Texas has a population of approximately 7,500 to 8,000. Six members, including a mayor, make up their city council.

“They have some of the same issues and challenges that any other city has in Texas with regards to budget, services. Cleveland has the advantage of being 45 miles from downtown Houston and they’re looking forward to some additional growth in the next several years as a result of that,” Miller added.

Cleveland built a new city hall and civic center about five years ago. One of their current hopes is to make improvements downtown, which Miller says he is excited to be a part of.

In a release issued by the City of Cleveland, they noted that “Mr. Miller has proven expertise in administration, research/planning, public relations and specializes in staff development, procedural organization, conflict resolution, negotiation and project management with in-depth experience in budgeting, economic development, city planning, administrative management, grant management, public works and utility systems.”

As part of Miller’s resignation from the City of Commerce in April 2010, the two sides agreed to a severance package that paid him a 12 month’s salary of $75,000, including benefits.

The settlement stated that Miller, following his suspension, had asserted claims against the City alleging various damages including those arising from an alleged breach of contract. The City denied such allegations. The execution of the settlement agreement was not intended or an admission of any fault or wrongdoing by or on behalf of Miller or the City.

“To be very frank with you about it I thought it was wrong for the action on the part of the council to take, particularly having two meetings on it. I took some things away from that experience and I’ve learned from that experience. I’ll apply what I learned in Commerce to the future.”

Director of Administrative Services Marc Clayton took over as interim city manager following Miller’s resignation. The interim tag was removed and Clayton appointed to the position full time in June 2011.