Personnel shakeup at Durant City Hall - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Personnel shakeup at Durant City Hall

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DURANT, Okla. -- A City Hall shakeup now underway in Durant has left a lot of unanswered questions.

Three key municipal positions have gone vacant in the span of just three days.

"Two City of Durant employees recently resigned their positions with the City of Durant and one employee was terminated," City Manager Tim Rundel confirmed in a written statement.

Those employees were identified as Public Works Director J.J. Wilson and Deputy City Manager Donnalla Miller, who resigned; and Parks and Recreation Superintendent Keach Ballard, who was fired on Tuesday morning.

So what happened?

"There was a situation that I had to look into, and the city had to look into, and we felt at this time this was in the best interest of the city for those individuals that resigned to move on and further their careers," Rundel told KTEN, declining any further comment due to what he called an ongoing investigation into Ballard's activities.

Ballard's attorney, Phyllis Walta,  said she has sent four open records requests that have not been completed.

"On behalf of Mr. Ballard, starting on about August the 28th, I believe I started sending open record requests through the city attorney," Walta said. "Today was the first time I have ever heard from anyone in the city concerning our open records request."

There is speculation that these requests caused Ballard's termination.

"That is absolutely 100 percent false," Rundel asserted. "The reason he was terminated is listed on his termination paperwork."

Rundel said these personnel changes are part of getting city government back on track.

"I've been here less than a year. There was -- as far as what was going on within the city -- some changes that needed to be made," he said. "I didn't take the decisions recently lightly. I want to give everyone a fair chance, and that's exactly what I did."

Rundel did tell us that the investigation into Ballard is due to workplace conduct.

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