In order to accept a job running the City’s water utility department, Wendell McLeod resigned his seat on the Liberty Hill City Council June 30.
The Independent was first to report the news of McLeod’s decision to resign from the Council in its June 30 edition — hours before he submitted his official resignation letter.
McLeod and his wife, Mary Ann, accepted three-year employment contracts from the City as part of a transfer agreement that dictated the conditions for the merger of the Liberty Hill Water Supply Corp. and the City of Liberty Hill.
Together, the McLeods will earn about $65,000 annually from the City — the same compensation they were paid as employees of the LHWSC, where McLeod continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.
According to their employment agreements with the City, McLeod’s title is Water Utility Operator and he will be paid a salary of $44,192.72. Mrs. McLeod’s title is Water System Assistant and she will be paid $22,849.96 annually.
McLeod told The Independent on Wednesday that nothing has changed.
“Everything is just like it was. Nothing has changed,” he said.
City Manager Manuel DeLaRosa disagreed.
“It is very different,” DeLaRosa said. “Mr. McLeod and Mrs. McLeod are accountable directly to me and I take that duty very seriously.”
He said McLeod will have no administrative duties whatsoever. He will not be responsible for billing customers or paying the bills of the utility department, and Mrs. McLeod will report to Deputy City Secretary Rachel Austin, who handles the accounting work for the City.
DeLaRosa said McLeod’s job will be operational in nature in that he will take service calls along with representatives of Severn Trent, which has a contract with the City to operate the water system. That contract became effective with a Council vote June 27.
DeLaRosa said McLeod’s position as Secretary/Treasurer on the LHWSC Board of Directors is not impacted by his city employment. He said he had no interest in whether the McLeods continued to accept compensation from LHWSC.
“That’s between the water supply board and Mr. McLeod. I have no restrictions that he can’t do work for another employer as long as it doesn’t interfere with his work for the City,” he said.
LHWSC Attorney Richard Hamala said McLeod will continue to be paid at the rate agreed to by the Board at its meeting June 25 unless it takes another action to change that decision. At that time, the Board voted to restrict his duties to those involving the transfer of the LHWSC to the City and agreed to pay him his full pay through the month of July. Beginning August 1, his salary would be reduced to $500 per month “pending review.”
McLeod asked The Independent to print the following letter he wrote to the community dated July 1, which contains his signature:
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the your support of my service on the Liberty Hill City Council and on the Liberty Hill Water Supply Board and as the Manager of the Liberty Hill Water Supply Corporation. I appreciate your votes and your encouraging words over the last several months. I want you to know that I have made the best choices that I could for Liberty Hill and done the best that I could as I have served Liberty Hill. There are still things I had hoped to accomplish for the city, but was not able to. I’m sure I have made decisions that some did not agree with, however, I know that a person cannot make “all the people happy all of the time.” Just know that I did my best and made decisions that I believed to be the best for the people and the city of Liberty Hill. I have taken the position as the “City” Water Utility Operator. Therefore, as a city employee, it is required that I resign my seat on the Liberty Hill City Council. Again, I thank you for your support and encouragement. If I can be of service to you in the future, feel free to call on me.”