Thursday, November 16, 2017

City Manager Is ‘Still Terminated,’ Special Meeting Set

“He is still terminated,” said Sallisaw City Attorney John Robert Montgomery Thursday afternoon.

Clayton Lucas II, Sallisaw’s city manager, was fired by a three to two city commission vote at the city commission regular meeting on Monday. At the time of the vote, Lucas rose and left the meeting, apparently under the impression that he was no longer employed. No reasons for Lucas’ dismissal were given to the public at the meeting.

But on Thursday Lucas was back at work.

Lucas said he was told on Wednesday that the city commissioners did “not follow the procedures for termination as are in the city charter.”

According to the Sallisaw City Charter, in Article 4, Section 2, on page 8, “The Board of Commissioners may suspend or remove the City Manager at any time by majority vote of all of its members, provided, that the Board of Commissioners shall give the City Manager written statement of the reason(s) for suspension or removal at least thirty days prior to the effective date of said suspension or removal and, shall upon request, give the City Manager an opportunity for a public hearing thereon, after the expiration of such notice, before suspension or removal.”

The Sallisaw City Charter can be found online.

Lucas was not given a reason for his firing 30 days before, and was not given a termination date. 

According to Montgomery there are also provisions for dismissal in Lucas’ contract with the city, but when asked what those provisions were he said that question should be asked of Lucas. 

Montgomery said the city commissioners will hold a special meeting to meet the requirements of the city charter. That meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Sallisaw Civic Center.

Other than calling the meeting to order and declaring a quorum, the only agenda items are:

-Discuss and take action authorizing the issuance of a written notice to City Manager regarding his termination as required by the City Charter.

-Consider and take possible action to place the City Manager on paid administrative leave and on appointment of an acting City Manager.

“I am not sure what kind of notice they will give him,” Montgomery said. “He is terminated but his last day will not be known until notice is given.”

Montgomery said he could not say what frame of mind the commissioners were in. Lucas’ firing has prompted much public comment, most in favor of Lucas but also from some who do not support him.

“That goes back to the executive session,” Montgomery said. “We are not supposed to discuss it.”

Montgomery said that, as far as he knows, Lucas has not filed any litigation against the city in regard to his firing.

“I know he has talked to an attorney,” Montgomery said.

Lucas said he will do what is best for the city, and he hopes to continue moving the city forward with the help of employees, city leaders and residents.

The city commissioners who voted to fire Lucas are Mayor Jim Hudgens, Ward 1 Commissioner Ronnie Lowe and Ward 2 Commissioner Ro Poindexter. Those who voted against firing Lucas are Ward 4 Commissioner Daryl Legg and Ward 3 Commissioner Julian Mendiola.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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