Lakeway utility district manager resigns
$80,000 severance sought; board set to vote today
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.