Suspended city manager files suit against Watauga

Posted Monday, Feb. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Embattled former Watauga City Manager Scott Neils is challenging a recent vote to suspend him in court.

Neils, who was suspended with pay Jan. 21 by a 6-1 vote is seeking a temporary restraining order in Tarrant County civil courts against the city, saying that Watauga violated his contract and that he should not be fired.

Former Mayor Harry Jeffries resigned last week after abstaining from the vote to suspend Neils.

Neils declined to comment Monday, referring questions to his attorney, Mark Haney.

However, he told the Star-Telegram previously that, "Technically, I'm no longer the city manager of Watauga."

The council will hold a public hearing during a special called meeting at 6:30 p.m. today to discuss whether to fire Neils and terminate his contract.

The council will also discuss beginning a search for a new city manager.

Fire Chief Bill Crawford has been appointed acting city manager.

According to court documents filed Friday, Watauga violated Neils' contract and failed to give him reasons for his suspension until Jan. 22. Neils said he also informed the city that he was going to have hip replacement surgery and was not certain if he could attend the public hearing because of his condition.

The city's actions were "prejudicial" and were timed to place Neils at a disadvantage to defend himself, according to the court documents.

Neils also stated that he was owed pay for vacation and sick time. The contract also says that Neils is entitled to severance pay.

The city countered in court documents that Neils violated several sections of the charter by appointing outside counsel and approving salary increases for selected employees without council approval. The city also contends that Neils violated state law when disposing of property and that he misled the council on red-light cameras.

Elizabeth Campbell,

817-390-7696

Twitter: @fwstliz

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