Florala utilities manager fired

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The manager of the Florala Utilities Board has been removed from the position – a first step in “big changes” to city government, board chairman Marvin Williford said Tuesday.

Lynn Hughes, a city employee since the early 1990s, was named to the post when the utilities board separated itself from the city in 2006 after issues arose over the number of municipal officers allowed to serve on the utilities board.

It took two years for the legal battle between the two entities to end, and since then, each has worked using its own equipment, personnel and buildings.

“I will confirm that the board has decided to lay Mrs. Hughes off,” Williford said. “The reason being the board has decided to go in a different direction in working with the city. Some things need to change, and this was one of them.

“Mrs. Hughes was not doing the job that the board needed her to do, and that’s all I can say now,” he said.

Williford said the board also agreed to examine ways to better utilize its resources and how it can work with the city.

“I’m not sure if we will merge again, but I definitely see us pooling our resources better,” he said. “We’ve always tried to help each other. If the water board needed something, (the city) would help us out and vice versa.”

Mayor Robert Williamson, who also serves as a utility board member, said city officials are open to all suggestions to further the working relationship between the entities.

“The two (entities) have to work hand-in-hand,” Williamson said. “In a small town, that’s just the way it is. For the last four years, we’ve tried to bring unity back to what was split before. It’s something that we have to correct – that whatever it is that is hindering our ability to work together.”

Williford said the board will meet today in a special called board meeting.