The Flower Mound Town Council Saturday placed Town Manager Harlan Jefferson on paid administrative leave effective immediately and named an interim replacement.
Council members voted 5-0 at the conclusion of a three and a half hour closed session in a specially called meeting at town hall Saturday afternoon.
Jefferson was named town manager in April 2006 and served as Flower Mound's Deputy Town Manager and CFO prior to that. There are three years left on Jefferson's current employment contract.
No reasons were given for the council's action.
The council voted for Chuck Springer, Assistant Town Manager/Chief Financial Officer, to assume Jefferson's duties in the interim.
Prior to the closed session, Jefferson's attorney, Don Colleluori with Dallas law firm Figari & Davenport, addressed the council on Jefferson's behalf, asking them to meet with Jefferson before making a decision to possibly fire him.
"Mr. Jefferson has never been given an opportunity to address with the full council any concerns they might have about his performance," said Colleluori. "This feeds the perception that the municipal government here is overly-politicized and unstable."
Colleluori went on to accuse the council of a witch hunt and suggested that council members were planning to avoid paying Jefferson severance pay.
"Because Mr. Jefferson has declined to simply resign as you hoped he would, there has now been a campaign embarked on to have Mr. Jefferson's reputation smeared so you can find some breach of the ethics code to justify his termination. To this day, Jefferson has not been advised of a single ethical violation, much less given a change to actually address it."
Colleluori concluded, "While this has been challenging for Mr. Jefferson, he does want the community to know that its always been his pleasure to serve the residents of Flower Mound and he will always be thankful for the professional opportunities being given to him by the town and the outstanding work that has been done by the staff members and town employees working together with both this council and many volunteers in the community, Mr. Jefferson believes the town has accomplished great things."
Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden, responding to Colleluori's public comments, said, "We appreciate you expressing your opinions, and they are that, only opinions. You represent your client very well."
Although Hayden could not comment on the council's actions Saturday, he released the following statement earlier this week: "I believe that Flower Mound residents have stated emphatically that they want to have a cooperative and collaborative spirit in Flower Mound that encourages economic growth and quality development while retaining the special characteristics that make our Town unique. As a consequence, the Council has been fostering a new culture that supports these objectives and best positions Flower Mound for the future.”
Check back for updates.