Archive for Thursday, September 14, 2006

City Administrator Beatty handed three-day suspension

September 14, 2006

A divided Eudora City Council suspended City Administrator Cheryl Beatty for three days without pay.

The council made the decision after returning from an hour long executive session.

Councilmen Scott Hopson, Kevin Miller and Bill Whitten voted for the suspension while Councilwoman Lori Fritzel and Councilman Dan Gregg opposed the action.

Because of personnel issues, no reason was given for the council's decision.

Despite the lack of explanations, Whitten stood by his decision.

"It was warranted for the suspension because of the way the protocols read that we have for the city of Eudora," Whitten said. "All I did was follow protocol."

Protocol wasn't enough to shape Fritzel's decision.

"I think that the reason for suspension was not worthy of suspension. I believe it was worthy of a reprimand," Fritzel said. "I don't think there was just cause for it. I think the actions were inappropriate and bad judgment, but not worthy of a suspension."

Fritzel said the motivations for the suspension might have gone beyond the specifics of the incident for which Beatty was disciplined.

"I think there was some underlying things that may have prompted that," Fritzel said.

Nonetheless, Fritzel said there did seem to be mutual understanding at the end of the meeting.

"I think we left it on a positive note, from my standpoint on it. It would be my wish that it wouldn't cause any ill feeling or hardships," Fritzel said. "I think she's doing an outstanding job for the city. I think she's getting to the next stage where Eudora needs to be as far as our growth."

Although Gregg couldn't comment on the council's ruling specifically, he said he supported Beatty.

"I'm very pleased with our city administrator. I think she brings a lot of integrity and class for the city, and she's very good at her job," Gregg said.

On the whole, Beatty had gone above and beyond what the city had asked her to do, Fritzel said.

Miller declined to comment on the suspension.

The council's decision didn't sit well with Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle.

The suspension came at a bad time because of the multiple projects Beatty has progressing for the city, Pyle said.

The possible aftermath of the decision was particularly troublesome, he said.

"We're going to be lost without her if she does decide to leave," Pyle said. "It's run shock waves through our workforce. I've had people come in here this morning and say, 'What next mayor?' We have people scared for their jobs. They've seen what three people can do."

Whitten had a less gloomy outlook on Beatty's return.

With her return and good communications on the council, the city's ongoing projects could roll along, Whitten said.

Gregg also saw a possible positive coming from the council's decision.

"I think she'll be very successful," Gregg said. "Everything that happens in our lives is a learning experience. I see no problems from moving on with this issue."

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