Updated

Ex-Hearne official takes post in Edna

By HOLLY HUFFMAN

Eagle Staff Writer

Former Hearne City Manager Ken Pryor, who was fired shortly after an audit exposed the city’s $1.7 million budget deficit, recently moved to the same post in a South Texas city.

Pryor said Wednesday he has been working as the city manager of Edna, a small community in Jackson County, for about a month. The population in Edna is 5,899 — about 1,000 more residents than Hearne has.

Things are going well in Edna, despite a recent encounter with Hurricane Claudette, Pryor joked. He said he enjoys working with City Council members in Edna because they come from varied backgrounds, bringing a broad range of experience to the table.

“It just kind of looked like a good fit,” Pryor said. “They had been without a city manager for some time over the past two years. They were kind of looking to ... get one on board.”

Pryor served as Hearne city manager for about six years. He was fired by the City Council in January, shortly after an audit revealed that the city had accumulated a $1.7 million deficit during the two previous years.

Neither Pryor, nor other city officials, initially could explain the shortfall. Further inquiry found that the deficit resulted from a decline in city utility revenues, poor bookkeeping and an unfinished audit that didn’t reveal the extent of Hearne’s financial problems.

Though city officials did not publicly blame Pryor for the financial problems, he was fired. At the time, Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez said the City Council cited leadership concerns, but he refused to give further reason for the firing, saying only that Pryor was an “at-will employee.”

Pryor said his wife, Hearne Chamber of Commerce Director Sally Pryor, will stay in Hearne until she can sell their home.

• Holly Huffman’s e-mail address is hhuffman@theeagle.com.

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