Cave Springs City Council Upholds Mayor’s Veto; Will Not Fire Ten Employees

CAVE SPRINGS (KFSM) -- The Cave Springs City Council will uphold Mayor Travis Lee's veto and not fire ten city employees.

The decision came at Tuesday night's (Jan. 10) regularly scheduled meeting.

There was standing room only as upwards of 200 people packed the Illinois River Watershed Learning Center for the meeting.

During public comments, many residents said they were persuaded to attend the regular meeting after the City Council held a special meeting on Jan. 4 during which aldermen voted to fire ten city workers, including the city manager and building inspector. The mayor vetoed the vote the next day and the issue was taken up once again at Tuesday's meeting.

After nearly and hour and a half of public comments, the council entered into an executive session, against the advisement of City Attorney Thomas Guarino, who sent a memo to each of the aldermen Monday outlining why the actions taken on Jan. 4 were illegal.

Upon returning, Alderman Larry Fletcher announced that the workers wouldn't lose their jobs and that's all the discussion there would be on the issue. Alderman Joan White was the lone vote against both the terminations and entering into an executive session.

"It was a difficult meeting, but I think that it was beneficial. I think we made some headway," White said. "I think for me, one of the greatest things is that we still have ten employees."

Nicole Ferguson, who was one of the ten employees who was fired and then not fired, said she hadn't expected much from the meeting, but was happy with the outcome.

"I go back to work. I went back to work after I was fired last week," Ferguson said. "So, I might as well keep going now."

The council tabled budget talks, which was the original topic on the agenda. The City Council also listed the budget as the reason for its original vote to fire the employees.