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Pension problems lead to board concerns

On Monday, ABC-7 was the only media outlet to report that Robert Stanton, executive director of the Firemen and Policemen’s Pension Fund, had rescinded his resignation.

However, since then, some have voiced their concerns about how it was handled, after Stanton was scrutinized in a recent El Paso Times article.

If some members of the board discussed in advance that Stanton was going to rescind his resignation before a vote of confidence was taken in view of the public, that could be a violation of the Open Meetings Act.

“This morning (Stanton) notified me he wanted to rescind his resignation,” Lt. Tyler Grossman, chairman of the Fire and Pension Board, said on Monday at about 8:30 a.m.

Last Wednesday, after an El Paso Times arcticle scrutinized some of Stanton’s spending habits and past legal charges that were later dropped, Stanton informed the board chairman he was resigning. At 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, the board held a special meeting where a 7-3 vote was taken to give a vote of confidence to Stanton. And by an hour later, Grossman was telling ABC-7 in an on camera interview Stanton had rescinded his resignation.

The concern is when did Stanton inform Grossman that he was going to withdraw his resignation. ABC-7 asked Grossman whether he or other board members knew Stanton was going to rescind his resignation prior to the vote.

“Not when the vote was taken,” Grossman replied. “No.”

After failing to return phone calls and emails since Monday, ABC-7 finally tracked Grossman down at Police Headquarters on Wednesday afternoon. ABC-7 asked him what time on Monday Stanton rescinded his resignation.

“I’m not sure the exact time,” Grossman said.

ABC-7 also asked Grossman whether the vote of support had anything to do with Stanton’s return.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” Grossman said.

Grossman concluded by saying he didn’t think the board had done anything wrong.

“I don’t believe anyone knew before the meeting,” he said.

Stanton has not returned phone calls or emails all week. The three members of the pension board that voted against supporting him, all appointees of the Mayor or City Manager, told ABC-7 they still have yet to be informed formally that Stanton has been reinstated as executive director of the fund. Grossman said that will occur at the next board meeting.

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