By Talina Eaker
ADA — Greeted by a standing ovation and applause, Ada City Council members voted four to one to keep David Hathcoat as city manager until the end of his contract in June.
More than 50 people attended the special called meeting 3 p.m. Thursday. Those in attendance included residents, city employees, police officers and E911 dispatchers.
During the last two regular meetings, council discussed Hathcoat’s job performance for a total of nearly five hours. Without arriving at a conclusion, council scheduled the special called meeting to discuss the continued employment and/or termination or resignation of the city manager.
The performance evaluation and employment became an issue when news channel Fox 25 alleged Hathcoat misused city time by gambling while he was supposed to be working.
Thursday, council immediately went into executive session after the meeting was called to order. At 3:43 p.m., council returned to open session.
Without discussion, Councilman Darrell Nemecek made a motion to continue Hathcoat’s employment until the end of his contract at the end of June.
Mayor Roger Cupps and council members Barbara Young, Nemecek and Shane Sweeney voted in favor while Vice Mayor Dick Scalf voted by saying a firm “No.”
After the vote was made, people in attendance began applauding and standing, showing their support of the vote.
“I’m pleased with the decision city council made,” John Haynes said after the meeting was adjourned. “I feel David had the support of the community and the council’s vote indicates that.”
Mel Hayworth, also in attendance, supported Hathcoat.
“He ought to be disciplined or rehabilitated rather than fired, as with any other employee,” he said. “If David were a federal or state or a larger city employee, there would be rehabilitation.”
The city of Ada first hired Hathcoat Sept. 1, 1991 as a city engineer and public works director. May 20, 1996, he was named interim city manager. Later that year in November, Hathcoat was named full-time city manager.
“We have a tremendous investment in his experience and training,” Hayworth said, “and to the best of our knowledge, his performance has been satisfactory.” In evidence of that, Hayworth said the city council has renewed his contract each year since 1996.
“We have a city we can be proud of,” Hayworth said.