Lakeway util­ity district man­ager re­signs

$80,000 severance sought; board set to vote to­day

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO &STATE - By Suzan­nah Gon­za­les

The Lakeway Mu­nic­i­pal Util­ity District board will con­sider ac­cept­ing the res­ig­na­tion of the district’s long­time gen­eral man­ager at its meet­ing to­day.

In a res­ig­na­tion let­ter, Richard Ea­son said, “I feel I am be­ing forced out.” He re­quested two weeks of severance pay for each of the 17 years he served the district.

Ea­son’s an­nual salary is about $123,000, mak­ing the severance amount for 34 weeks of pay about $80,000.

The board’s con­sid­er­a­tion of Ea­son’s res­ig­na­tion comes 21⁄ weeks af­ter a Travis

2 County jury awarded $91,000 in dam­ages to Ea­son, find­ing that Board Mem­ber Kay An­drews ma­li­ciously spread a pair of false state­ments that de­famed him.

A judge will con­sider a mo­tion for judg­ment on the jury ver­dict dur­ing a hear­ing sched­uled for Aug. 3, said Som­mer Coutu, Ea­son’s lawyer in the defama­tion case. A pay­ment would be cov­ered by a home­own­ers’ in­surance pol­icy or the Texas Mu­nic­i­pal League, An­drews’ lawyer, Joanna Sali­nas, has said. Board Pres­i­dent Karl Ans­bach has said he an­tic­i­pates that the district will pay a $2,500 de­ductible with the Texas Mu­nic­i­pal League pol­icy.

An­drews de­clined to com­ment Tues­day on the case or on Ea­son’s res­ig­na­tion. Ea­son de­clined to com­ment Tues­day on his em­ploy­ment mat­ters.

If the board ac­cepts Ea­son’s res­ig­na­tion, it will ap­point an in­terim gen­eral man­ager at the meet­ing, Ans­bach said.

The board voted 3-1 in Jan­uary to re­in­state Ea­son as its gen­eral man­ager. Ea­son was put on paid ad­min­is­tra­tive leave Dec. 17 af­ter the district’s for­mer board pres­i­dent, Tom Rogers, said Ea­son passed along con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion to a re­porter at the Lake Travis View, which is owned by the Amer­i­can-States­man. Board Mem­ber Jerry Hi­et­pas voted no, and An­drews ab­stained.

In his June 18 res­ig­na­tion let­ter, which the States­man ob­tained through an open records request, Ea­son cites a “hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment cre­ated for me by two of the board mem­bers.”

“I have been told flat out that I am no longer wanted here,” Ea­son wrote in the let­ter. “I feel I am be­ing forced out and that I am be­ing given no al­ter­na­tive but to seek other means to pro­tect my fu­ture ca­reer.”

Ea­son “has out­grown the job, and we have noth­ing more we can of­fer him,” Hi­et­pas said Tues­day.

Ea­son said in the let­ter that he has “done much good” dur­ing his “long and pro­duc­tive ca­reer.” The district re­cently won an award for bud­get and fi­nan­cial trans­parency from the Texas comptroller’s of­fice.

In ex­change for the severance pay­ment, Ea- son said he would sign a re­lease-and-waiver agree­ment for­feit­ing fu­ture le­gal claims, the let­ter said.

Ans­bach said pre­vi­ously that Ea­son’s con­tract al­lows him to re­sign from his po­si­tion with 30 days’ no­tice, but with no severance com­pen­sa­tion.

Ea­son has ac­cepted em­ploy­ment with a govern­ment en­tity in the Cay­man Is­lands, Ans­bach said.

‘I have been told flat out that I am no longer wanted here. I feel I am be­ing forced out and that I am be­ing given no al­ter­na­tive but to seek other means to pro­tect my fu­ture ca­reer.’

RichaRd Ea­son Lakeway Mu­nic­i­pal Util­ity District gen­eral man­ager, in a res­ig­na­tion let­ter to the board

Richard Ea­son was awarded $91,000 in dam­ages in defama­tion law­suit.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.