Town manager gets green light to execute undisclosed agreement in discrimination cases
ARGYLE — The Argyle Town Council agreed to give the town manager the green light to execute an undisclosed agreement with the two women who filed discrimination cases against the town in January.
One former employee and one current employee, whose name was withheld, accused former Mayor Matt Smith of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints with the Texas Workforce Commission.
In the EEOC complaints, which were obtained through an open records request, the women reported that the incidents took place during a time in which Smith served as interim town manager.
Carissa Finney, the former employee who filed one of the complaints, said she resigned from her position because Smith intimidated her repeatedly. The current employee accused Smith of an unfair demotion.
Earlier this year, Finney said she had enjoyed working for the town and wanted to have her job reinstated.
Though the details of the pending agreement are deemed confidential by the EEOC, Town Attorney Matthew Boyle said there will be no change in employment status for either of the women.
The Town Council made the decision Tuesday night in a council meeting during executive session, ending a nearly five-month-long mediation process.
After the EEOC complaints, Smith decided not to seek re-election, citing personal reasons.
When the complaints were filed, Smith said the claims were filed to sabotage his political position as mayor.
“There’s no record of any complaints anywhere,” he said.
In other business, the council decided to review approximately 20 amendments made to town ordinances in October.
According to city officials, many of the changes involved removing responsibilities from the town manager and placing them with the mayor.
City Manager Charles West said the ordinances are being reviewed because there are mistakes that need to be corrected.
The changes in October included making the mayor responsible for preparing agendas, giving the mayor authorization to execute construction contractor agreements and designating the mayor as the official responsible for implementation and enforcement of drought contingency plans.
The Town Council is expected to continue working on the changes in the coming weeks, West said.
The council also unanimously agreed to hire a consultant to review the town’s municipal court operations.
West said the consultant will help the court improve customer service and become more organized.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.