Cleveland city manager fired, contract voided

Stacy Williams

After just two months on the job, Cleveland City Manager Stacy Williams was terminated Tuesday night, May 17, in a 3-2 vote by the Cleveland City Council. Williams’ termination is effective immediately, and he was asked to surrender all keys and equipment belonging to the City.

The vote to terminate Williams followed a brief executive session. Williams asked that all discussions about his termination be made in full view of the public, but Council was advised by City Attorney David Olson that they first had to go into executive session. When they returned to the open meeting, the vote was quickly taken to terminate Williams with Councilmembers Eddie Lowery, Danny Lee and Marilyn Clay voting in favor of the measure.

After the vote was taken, Councilwoman Delores Terry raised an objection to the termination. She suggested that the councilmembers were breaking protocol by appointing City Secretary Angela Smith as the interim city manager.

“I knew it. I knew it. Did you announce to the people of Cleveland that you were going to make Angela the city manager? You said that what Carolyn [McWaters], James [Franklin] and I did was illegal, so what are you doing?” Terry said.

Terry was referring to backlash that she and the two other councilmembers received from Mayor Richard Boyett, Clay and Lee after Williams was offered the position of city manager in March despite the job not being posted and without reviewing applications or interviewing other candidates.

In a 3-2 vote in March, Terry, McWaters and Franklin approved a two-year contract with Williams that provided him with an annual salary of $140,000 and a $10,000 annual automobile allowance. The contract also included a clause that stated if Williams was terminated by the Council within the first six months without cause, the City would have to provide him with a cash payment equal to one year of salary or the remainder of the agreement, whichever is the lesser amount.

Mayor Boyett claims the contract was voided because it was determined that it was in violation of the City’s Home Rule Charter, which states:

“The City Manager shall not be appointed for a definite term, but may be removed at the will and pleasure of the City Council by a vote of the majority of the entire Council. The action of the City Council in suspending or removing the City Manager shall be final, it being the intention of this Charter to vest all authority and fix all responsibility for such suspension or removal in the City Council.”

In simplified language, the City, through its charter, is prevented from entering into a contract with a city manager for a two-year term, such as what was offered to Williams. Boyett claims responsibility for the faulty contract lies with City Attorney David Olson of Olson and Olson LLP, the law firm contracted by the City for legal services.

As the Council began to adjourn following the vote, Williams asked to speak but was denied. Above the din of the room, Williams claimed the City violated his right to “due process” by not allowing him to speak. After the meeting, when asked to comment on his termination, Williams declined, speaking instead to the Fox News Houston reporters who showed up for the meeting.

Williams and Boyett have been at odds since he was promoted to City Manager. Williams previously worked as Public Works Director, a job he had held since October 2021. Boyett, in previous meetings, criticized what appeared to be a rush to hire Williams without properly vetting his qualifications or considering other candidates.

“We could argue all day long. But there is one thing: when you don’t even want to post the job. I had three applications given to me that had degrees in accounting, degrees in management, yet we are going to hire a man who has no degree, has no idea what a city manager ought to be,” Boyett said in March. “He thinks he can come into the City of Cleveland now. He has three people against him – me, Danny [Lee] and [Councilwoman] Marilyn [Clay] – and he thinks that’s good. He thinks he has the upper hand. He wants to sign a contract that is going to bind us for two years, paying roughly $350,000 or $400,000 if he doesn’t work out.”

Recently Boyett has been criticized for engaging in a profanity-laced invective directed toward Williams during a visit to city hall, all of which was caught on a body cam worn by a Cleveland police officer. Boyett apologized for his actions at the April city council meeting.

Council shifted in its power structure after the May 7 election. Councilman Lowery, who previously served on council and as a county commissioner, defeated Councilman James Franklin. Councilwoman Delores Terry is also on her way out after she was defeated in the election. The two challengers for her seat – Rachel Hall and Desiree David – will face off in a run-off election on June 18.

Tuesday night’s meeting was the last for Position 6 Councilman Danny Lee, who is leaving due to term limits. His position is also in a run-off between candidates Fred Terrell, who previously served on the Cleveland EDC, and local businessman Mike Doyle.

Early voting for the run-off election will be held on June 6-10, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and June 13-14, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to Liberty County Elections Administrator Klint Bush. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day at the voting center at Cleveland Civic Center. That location is the only one that will be open for the entire county for the run-off election.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The City Attorney appears to have forgotten a multitude of items, including, but not limited to: (1) he and his firm represent the City of Cleveland only; (2) his obligation is to the municipal government entity he represents only and never to individual persons or the “majority” of councilmember(s) and/or his/her spouse(s), which theoretically could and should change at any given time if corruption is not present; (3) and, his loyalty, duty, and fiduciary responsibility is to protect the entity in which he represents (City of Cleveland).

    If the City of Cleveland Home Rule Charter (governing document) had been knowingly violated through an employment contract that was extended to an uneducated and unqualified individual for the City Manager position, and and if the City Attorney was privy to or a part of private meetings with individual councilmembers (and at least one spouse), why were such Open Meeting Act violations and/or deliberate walking quorums allowed, and why did it take months for the City Attorney to finally say that the contract was and still is unenforceable per the City Charter?

    The City Attorney’s inaction has created a significant and possible future financial burden to the taxpayers. All of the finger pointing should be directed to the City Attorney, Councilwoman Carolyn McWaters, former Councilman James Franklin, and soon to be former Councilwoman Delores Terry, two of whom were recently voted out by the citizens of Cleveland. Each of them played an integral part in this unfortunate series of events that could have been avoided on day one had the City Attorney taken a position to protect the city he represents.

  2. Cleveland Strong….It appears to me you don’t know the actual facts of the situation and are speaking about things you are totally not in the loop of. And as for your comment about Stacy Williams being an uneducated and unqualified individual, have you read his resume or application? Have you spoken to his previous employers? Probably not!

    Do you know for fact what the so called “private meeting” was about? No I bet you actually don’t for fact know! And it would be a little ridiculous to plan a “private” meeting at City Hall if you had something to hide or were doing something wrong/illegal.

    The problem is so many people speak from the outside when they don’t know what’s going on, on the inside. Unless you are actually in the room when it all takes place, then you actually don’t “know” anything. Well….unless there is video HAHAHAHA

    The City Attorney does work for the city, and represents the city, and does what they tell him too. Yes he is there to guide them legally but this was not the first time a contract was offered to a City Manager. There was a council vote of 3/2 to create a contract between Stacy Williams and the City of Cleveland for a City Manager position and therefore he acted on that. This is no different than the contract with Bobby Pennington, the only difference is Stacy Williams wasn’t chosen by the Mayor so it became his personal agenda to remove him and it worked due to the weak.

    My opinion….the Mayor is a puppeteer and many are his personal puppets. Cute the strings peeps! Free yourself.

  3. Open up your checkbooks, this lawsuit is gonna cost the taxpayers way more than the contract. At least it will be fun to read about on Bluebonnet.

  4. By this comment I’m assuming you aren’t aware of the recordings of the back door meetings that Mr. Williams and the other corrupt politicians were having, and some of those were at the tax payers expense. Everybody recording every little thing. You just can’t trust anyone these days.

  5. Oh B Helton there are plenty of videos! Unfortunately, for Mr. Williams he thinks he’s winning the game but he doesn’t even know the rules.

  6. *B HELTON*

    You appear to be obsessed with posting your opinions over multiple social networking websites, including this forum. It speaks volumes of your character that you have been doing everything possible to have media outlets pick up a one-sided story and that has resulted in a lack of sensationalism that you so desired. Why don’t you reference or link the prior Bluebonnet News articles on your Facebook post so that others get a clear picture or even a tiny bit of an understanding of what has actually transpired (you know, the other side of the story)?

    You and many of your husband’s acquaintances are to be pitied, particularly those who are still actually employed by the city (at-will, mind you, since we’re in the great state of Texas, y’all), as many of you are doing the very things for which you are criticizing others.

    Through your gift of gab, you have been instrumental in leaking confidential and contradicting information that might not have surfaced or even been known or ever fact-checked otherwise.

    One such instance that comes to mind per your own Facebook post is that you had knowledge of Carolyn McWaters and her husband (Jim Bloss) meeting with the City Attorney at City Hall and discussing a personal matter not pertaining to city business. I’m sure that service was being provided pro bono and was not being billed to the city and not an expense passed on to the taxpayers, right? Right!?!?

    Is that also when Councilwoman Carolyn McWaters was at City Hall meeting with employees and polling them to make sure they liked Mr. Williams and thought he was a good guy? That information was mentioned by her at a council meeting (thanks, YouTube). Former Mayor Niki Coats spoke of another one of Carolyn’s self-serving schemes that happened with her and a prior City Manager’s appointment while he was Mayor (also, YouTube). Thankfully, he made it known that this wasn’t her first rodeo!

    It might seem off-topic, but isn’t this all part of what prompted the recorded interaction between the Mayor and City Manager? That infuriates me for a multitude of reasons as a taxpayer! It’s so concerning and unusual that you would be privy to these details and made a choice to share this information, whether factual or not, on your own Facebook post.

    Regardless, three councilmembers (not the Mayor, contrary to popular belief) made the decision to terminate the City Manager’s employment. The acting Interim City Manager made it vehemently clear that this was a temporary situation, and the Liberty County District Attorney personally messaged you on Facebook this evening clarifying the inaccurate information you posted pertaining to this temporary appointment.

    We can only hope and pray that our city leaders, who are truly public servants, will choose to move forward in a positive direction and follow the City Charter so that our city can avoid another truly unfortunate situation like this.

  7. #Missy you left no stone unturned in your post. You are so correct in your observations, this has been basically a attempted hit job in the taxpayers of Cleveland Tx. The City charter was not followed in this entire process. The Charter was created by the citizens as a template on the operations of our city. It should never be manipulated in any way by any person or group of people!

  8. B Helton…While I understand that you believe your stated facts and opinions on this forum and social media to be true, I also stand by what I know to be fact or truth as you like to put it in so many of your posts. For what it’s worth, it may behoove you, your future son-in-law, your other confirmed family members and associates, and anyone else who thinks it’s helpful to spew visceral hate to bear in mind that social media comments are discoverable.

    In the past few hours, I noticed on the Bluebonnet News Facebook cover page that may be accessed by anyone without even being logged onto Facebook, the terminated City Manager’s soon-to-be son-in-law has deleted most of his hate-filled written rampage and personal targeted attacks that he posted yesterday evening.

    Fortunately, screenshots have been taken of these interactions (and many others). Much of this information has already been forwarded to the appropriate and interested parties, and that’s a fact.

    I understand that you may believe that you, your family members, your friends, your newfound followers, and any others thinking they can freely berate others for an unspecified time may make them feel in control and like they have the upper hand, but that just might not be the case.

    It’s obvious that it particularly bothers those who express support of our Mayor and our Councilmembers who have served in some capacity on the Cleveland City Council and/or the Cleveland Independent School Board for countless years. These public servants all have families who are also affected by all of this, and many have been in this town and have chosen to call Cleveland home for many generations.

    One unfortunate interaction with an outsider with an agenda and endless underlying conditions will certainly not bring any Cleveland family with a proud legacy down! By all indications, this has made all of the families who have been a part of all this come together even more. Through such a tumultuous time, many unlikely bonds, forever friends, and unlikely alliances have been formed, so there’s always a silver lining.

    Despite what individuals are posting on both sides, it’s pretty obvious that some are intelligent, reasonable, open-minded, and decent people, while that can’t be said for countless others. We remain strongly united; we love our town; and we are, in fact, CLEVELAND STRONG!!!!!

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