Smith resigns from Water Utility
The city’s water utilities is undergoing several changes, including a vacancy in the general manager’s seat.
Former general manager Mark Smith resigned July 18, the day after a special meeting in which the El Dorado City Council voted to abolish the El Dorado Water and Sewer Commission.
Aldermen voted 7-1 to dissolve the commission after citing ongoing issues and complaints with the El Dorado Water Utilities, including poor customer service and inefficiency in completing repairs.
After a lengthy discussion, the council voted to dissolve the five-member water and sewer commission and establish a water advisory board.
Alderman Billy Blann voted against the measure. While he agreed that the city needs to address issues with the water utilities, Blann said he wanted to see a plan of how the city would operate the utilities before abolishing the commission.
The Department of Public Works now has oversight of the water utilities, and the advisory board will take recommendations and issues to Robert Edmonds, director of public works.
When necessary, Edmonds will forward the information to the city council for a vote and discussion.
No representatives from the El Dorado Water Utilities attended the special meeting.
Smith and Pete Parks, former chairman of the water and sewer commission, said neither the commissioners nor utilities’ employees were notified about the meeting.
The following day, Smith turned in his resignation and the keys to his city-issued vehicle, Edmonds and Mayor Frank Hash said.
“He said he didn’t think he could work with the way — with the way Mr. Edmonds thought things could be done,” Hash said.
“He was not asked to resign. There was no threatening to fire him or anything like that,” Edmonds said.
Smith declined to comment on the matter “at
Buddy Kinney, director of operations for the El Dorado Water Utilities, has been named interim general manager.
Edmonds said city officials are waiting until the water advisory board is formed to begin the search for a permanent replacement.
City Clerk Heather McVay said she has received several requests for applications to serve on the advisory board,
though no applications had been submitted by late Thursday afternoon.
The city council has not set a deadline to submit applications for the advisory board, though Hash suggested a timeframe of 30 days from July 17, the day the water and sewer commission was dissolved.