Clennan asked to resign from Liberty Hill EDC

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By SHELLY WILKISON

Liberty Hill Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Kirk Clennan was asked to resign last Friday after only eight months on the job.

City Manager Greg Boatright told the City Council Monday that he had asked for Clennan’s resignation one day after an EDC Board meeting. He said he had shared the news with EDC President Lance Dean and would be meeting with Dean in the coming days to “map out a future strategy for the position.

“I wanted you (the Council) to hear it from me. There were just a lot of things that had been continual that I was constantly playing defense to try to answer some of the concerns not only from our Board of Directors, but from you and others asking questions about what was going on,” Boatright explained.

“I just felt after a conversation with the Mayor (Connie Fuller) on Friday that it was the best alternative I had,” he said. “So that has been done.”

Boatright said he received Clennan’s letter of resignation Monday.

Boatright told The Independent after Monday’s meeting that he agreed to a negotiated parting that allowed Clennan to be paid through the end of January as well as to be compensated for unused vacation time.

“There was a general consensus of the Board that the direction the Executive Director was taking was not where they wanted to go,” Boatright told the newspaper, adding that the Board was more interested in finding ways the EDC could help local business.

“Not a big global focus, but instead focus on what can be done to improve business opportunities in Liberty Hill and enhance local business already here,” Boatright said.

Clennan, who previously worked in economic development positions for the City of Leander and the City of Cedar Park, spent a great deal of time communicating with business prospects outside Liberty Hill interested in possible relocation to the city.

Boatright said that was good, but “we need to be realistic about what we can accommodate.”

As an example, he said a large manufacturing company was looking for large numbers of skilled laborers, something not presently available in Liberty Hill.

Boatright told the Council Monday that during the EDC Board meeting Thursday, Assistant City Administrator Amber Lewis made a presentation to the Board about the EDC budget for the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2015.

“When we had our presentation on Thursday updating them (EDC Board) on budget, there were lots of concerns on disclosure about money that had been spent,” Boatright told the Council. “The most specific thing focused on was the website. They (the Board) weren’t aware that they were involved in payment for creating the city website that we have been working on for six months.

“So issues like that. It was nothing major, it was just some things that had not been communicated to them by their executive director,” he continued. “There were several issues that came to light as Amber presented their budget to them.

Boatright said in the interim, he and Lewis will share the role of working with the EDC Board.

“We will take up that role and fulfill it the best we can and look to EDC Board to give us direction on what they want to do as far as the executive director (position),” he said.

He told the Council that Clennan’s employment contract showed Boatright as Clennan’s supervisor, giving him the authority to terminate his employment without a vote of the EDC Board.

“That’s not a pleasant part of being a city administrator, but it’s been done and dealt with and now we’re on to other things,” Boatright said.

Boatright, who was first hired in 2013 by the City to serve part-time as EDC Executive Director, said he believes the job could be a part-time position up to 30 hours per week.

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