Lubbock City Council voted 4 to 3 to terminate City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld on Monday night.
The Council met behind closed doors for four hours before the vote was announced. Mayor Glen Robertson described the meeting as tense and somber but says focus has to be on the future.
"It is time for us as a council to pull together and put this behind us," he said. "I'm not surprised it was a close vote, I really think it could have gone either way. It's probably the hardest vote every council person up here had to make."
Todd Klein, Jim Gerlt, Victor Hernandez and Latrelle Joy voted in favor of terminating Ms. Dumbauld. Mayor Robertson, Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson and Floyd Price voted against.
"I didn't see a reason to terminate," Mayor Robertson said. "I'm sure attorneys will continue talks but at this point council is through with any action on this."
Mayor Robertson would not specify how much money Ms. Dumbauld received in severance on advice from legal council and was vague when asked about the reason why Dumbauld was fired.
"At this point the vote that was made tonight was strictly to terminate. There was no mention of cause or not cause so like I say anything past that, the attorneys advised us not to speak on," he said.
So while we don't know the exact reason for Dumbauld's termination, the recent conflict between her and Councilman Hernandez is a matter of public record.
In late March, allegations were made by two city employees against Councilman Victor Hernandez, claiming that he was creating a hostile work environment.
Included in that complaint were emails between Mayor Robertson and City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld in which she said, "Councilman Hernandez is obsessed with my personal life and has repeatedly inquired about friendships I have outside of work. I believe he is watching my home, and I have reported this to the police chief."
Two weeks later at a City Council meeting, a vote was held to determine if Ms. Dumbauld would be placed on administrative leave while the situation between her and Hernandez was investigated and sorted out. That vote ended as a 3-3 tie because Councilman Floyd Price was not present.
The Mayor admitted the loss of the city manager will have an effect on the budget.
"It will effect us, there's no doubt. Your city manager is your budget official, so whoever we name as interim on Friday will have to take over that role," he said. "We are going to have to be able to work two and three times as hard in the next 30 or 60 days because we've got a budget we've got to get out and we've got big decisions. We've got two fire stations we need to build, we've got a police department we need to build, we've got over 2300 employees that are probably sitting there questioning right now what's really going to happen, so this council is going to have to step up and lead."
A special city council session will be held Friday at 3:30 p.m. to name an interim City Manager and discuss how the Council should conduct the search for a permanent replacement.
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