The Field Review - Local

Kyle City Manager Served Lawsuit Related to His Duty to Citizens

On September 29, 2021, a lawsuit was filed in Hays County District Court on the City of Kyle’s City Manager, J. Scott Sellers. The lawsuit goes into concerns that Mr. Sellers has not performed his duty in accordance with City Ordinance, Policies, Procedures, and Laws. Specifically, the concern involves the City of Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett. The lawsuit goes on to express concerns with Chief Barnett’s past and current employment history. The suit came about because of a matter where Chief Barnett decided to have John D Ferrara arrested for Stalking, on or about May 27, 2020. The arrest came after Chief Barnett stated to Mr. Ferrara, he never replied to Mr. Ferrara in the past because Mr. Ferrara was slandering him. This conversation occurred on or about April 15, 2020. Mr. Ferrara asked Chief Barnett which part of the information he had was slander, but Chief Barnett did not respond. Instead he stated he would seek legal action towards Mr. Ferrara. The legal action consisted of Chief Barnett having his own officer go to the Hays County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2 to procure an arrest warrant.

On or about September 29, 2019, Mr. Ferrara received information from the City of Kyle which stated he was a suspect named in a case worked by the City of Kyle Police Department and the claimed victim was John Smith. It was learned, many months later, that John Smith was a pseudonym for Chief Barnett. The Coversheet provided to Mr. Ferrara stated the City of Kyle initiated the investigation on October 1, 2018.

The case seemed to be opened after Mr. Ferrara communicated with Chief Barnett that Mr. Ferrara believed Chief Barnett was violating the duties of his office; specifically, that he was committing “abuse of official capacity.” The irony of the whole matter, is that after such date, the City of Kyle opened up an investigation, one where Chief Barnett can be the only controller by City Ordinance, Polices, and Procedures. The allegation occurred because Mr. Ferrara believes Chief Barnett was not totally truthful when he and Mr. Ferrara communicated about Chief Barnett and Mr. Ferrara’s past meeting in Princeton, Texas; where they both resided in the same neighborhood, and across the street from one another.

In any case, since that point, Mr. Ferrara continued to have his concerns addressed and attempted to file complaints with the City of Kyle. It was not until after Mr. Ferrara was arrested did anyone from the City of Kyle respond. During such response, Mr. Ferrara was informed how to make an Ethics Complaint on Chief Barnett. Mr. Ferrara filed an Ethics Complaint and Chief Barnett submitted a rebuttal. In his rebuttal he cited that he made an official police report with his own agency; yet, no initial complaint or offense report can be found, as confirmed in Open Records and other avenues.

On August 12, 2020, an Ethics Commission meeting was held and recorded on the City of Kyle website. During the meeting, it was discussed to place the Ethics Complaint on Mr. Barnett, on hold pending the outcome of potential criminal charges on Mr. Ferrara. Specifically mentioned was a conversation the Ethics Commission attorney stated he had with a Hays County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor. In that conversation, it was stated by the Ethics Commission attorney that the Hays County District Attorney stated Mr. Ferrara will have a lot of charges and it may be recommended to place the Ethics Commission complaint on hold, to avoid complicating the discovery process in the criminal proceeding. The Ethics Commission voted and decided to hold off on the ethics complaint filed by Mr. Ferrara. At the time the Ethics Commission placed the complaint on hold, Mr. Ferrara was not formally charged with anything. It was not until June 2021, was Mr. Ferrara formally charged for harassment.

On October 1, 2020, the Hays County District Attorney recused his office of the case or any case involving Mr. Ferrara, the City of Kyle Investigation and/or the Warrant used to have Mr. Ferrara arrested. Mr. Ferrara was given the order of recusal. It appointed the Travis County Attorney’s Office as the Pro Tem for the matter. They were ordered to determine if there were any charges for Mr. Ferrara, and/or the Kyle Police Department investigation, and/or the Warrant filed on Mr. Ferrara. To date, the warrant and/or the investigation have not been considered by the Pro Tem.

Prior to June 2021, Mr. Ferrara filed two petitions for habeas corpus relief, due to a pending indictment; which never occurred. The initial petition was filed in the District Court. The hearing identified there were no felony charges to consider towards Mr. Ferrara and he should file in the County Court for relief. Mr. Ferrara filed for relief in the County Court. During the hearing in County Court, it was identified again, there are no felonies to consider towards Mr. Ferrara. He was awarded partial relief, but the presiding judge did not sign any order to official grant the relief. Soon after the last habeas corpus filing, the Pro Tem filed a harassment case into the Hays County Court 1. After Mr. Ferrara filed a notice to the court of a pseudonym being used, that was not listed in the motion to recuse the Hays County District Attorney’s Office, the presiding judge recused himself and another judge was assigned to hear the cause. Again, the motion to recuse the Hays County District Attorney’s Office already listed Chief Barnett as the alleged victim. The case is still pending and has a jury trial scheduled for December 6, 2021.

Because it appears clearly obvious that know one decided to perform their government duty or address the concerns of Mr. Ferrara, as required by laws, he filed a lawsuit on the City Manager of the City of Kyle to seek resolution to his concerns. He has raised numerous employment concerns involving Chief Barnet; as well as, making allegations Chief Barnett used his own officers to have Mr. Ferrara observed and watched for two years, so he could claim Mr. Ferrara stalked him during the same period, rather than replying to Mr. Ferrara as the laws of his office, policies and procedures of the same would require him to do.