CAVE SPRINGS (KFSM) -- On Thursday (Jan. 5), Cave Springs Mayor Travis Lee vetoed the City Council's decision to fire ten city employees, a decision the aldermen passed in a 5 to 1 vote the day before.
Lee said his veto will hold for five days until Jan. 10, which is also the date of the next City Council meeting.
"The normal protocol is it goes through me. It doesn't go through the council. It doesn't go through a legislative body of the government. Period," Lee said. "That's unheard of."
Lee said aldermen violated several municipal codes and state laws, including a rule that requires the mayor be notified of any special meeting in writing. According to the veto letter, the council's special meeting violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. Lee said the aldermen's actions also violated a municipal code that does not allow the City Council to fire individual employees.
"It had nothing to do with the employees, and I know they feel like they've been attacked, but that was not our intent," said Alderman Mary Ann Winters. "Believe me, it is not fun having to cut a budget and let people go."
Winters said the special City Council meeting met all legal requirements, and the aldermen determined who was let go by the date of hire.
"The last in, first out method" Winters said.
Stephanni Morgan, who had been the public works administrator, was one of the employees who was fired.
"To wake up with this confusion and the malicious intent of people affecting our families and our lives, it's really been a struggle," she said.
Winters expects the City Countil will overrule Lee's veto during the Jan. 10 meeting. A two-thirds vote is required to squash the veto.
"It's just misinformed, and ignorance, and public corruption," Lee said. "There's nothing else more to say."
Cave Springs is also dealing with the recent loss of its police chief, who left after just one day on the job.