Members of the Elkhart City Council voted unanimously Monday to rescind a $!00,000 severance for former City Secretary Carla Sheridan, who was fired June 4.
Under terms of an August 2017 contract, approved by the previous City Council, Sheridan was to receive a $100,000 lump sum severance package if terminated – something virtually unheard of in city government.
It was widely believed the threat of paying an enormous severance would protect Sheridan's job, but the new city council fired her, anyway. It's unclear on what legal grounds the city council will use to uphold rescinding the severance agreement.
Monday's unanimous action came after council members met for 45 minutes in closed, executive session.
About three dozen people attending the meeting sat outside, under a canopy, because of a lack of space inside city hall. The audience sat quietly after council members voted to rescind the severance.
An Anderson County sheriff's deputy attended the meeting to maintain order, but that wasn't necessary.
The May elections brought big changes to Elkhart city government, one of the most tumultuous in East Texas.
In May, Jennifer McCoy was elected mayor and Judith Cantrell appointed city administrator. With the appointment of interim City Secretary Ami Ashworth, leadership at city hall has vowed to reform city government and operate it with full transparency.
The city council appointed Ashworth as interim city secretary June 8, shortly after it fired Sheridan.
McCoy, a volunteer firefighter, ran unopposed during her first bid for public office.
Incumbent council members Taylor Bentley and Daryll Faulk, who took office last November, after council members Beverly Anderson and Rhonda Burr resigned, both won their first two-year term. Offices are voluntary; neither the mayor, nor council members, are paid.
Faulk clobbered former councilman Chris Sheridan – Carla Sheridan's husband – 91-30. Bentley also won a decisive victory over former mayer pro-tem Billy Jack Wright, 97-24.