The Denton City Council is expected to cut ties with its new city judge, Holly Fox, this week.
The council is scheduled to review the final terms of a severance agreement in closed session before approving a contract buyout Tuesday afternoon. That buyout could cost the city about $150,000. Once approved, the buyout also officially ends Fox’s duties as presiding judge over Denton’s municipal court.
Fox did not return a call for comment Monday. City officials have made no public statement about the break in the relationship. But the council has discussed her service during previous closed sessions — weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Fox was appointed to the post in February 2019. She was the City Council’s first judicial hire after Robin Ramsay left his longtime post as the Denton city judge to go to work for the county in November 2018. The municipal judge is one of four executive employees who report directly to the City Council. The others are the city attorney, city auditor and city manager.
Most municipal court proceedings were suspended earlier this month through April 5, or until further notice. The suspension came as part of citywide “stay at home” orders to slow the virus’ spread. Alternate judges remain for essential matters, including as magistrates for the police department and city jail, during the court’s shutdown.
A draft severance agreement shows council members poised to pay Fox about 10 months of base pay, retirement contributions and other benefits.
An additional payment to the law firm representing her in the severance talks was also specified but left blank as to the amount. Fox is represented by the same Dallas law firm as two former Denton Municipal Electric employees who sued the city for wrongful termination, Kilgore & Kilgore.
According to the terms of the agreement, the payments of pay, benefits and attorney’s fees come in exchange for her resignation and an agreement by both sides to consider the matter settled.
The City Council’s virtual closed-door session on the severance agreement is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The remainder of the meeting will be livestreamed once the closed-door session is finished at cityofdenton.com.