The January departure of Fort Worth’s chief financial officer, Lena Ellis, has moved into the public record, with Ellis’ requests for a written statement citing reasons for removal and a public hearing before the City Council to ask for reconsiderion of her severance.
The city made the documents public Tuesday, in conjunction with Ellis’ scheduled public hearing before the council. In the end, Ellis did not appear before the council, but the documents were entered into the record.
City officials, back in January, were tight-lipped about Ellis’ departure, saying only she was no longer with the city.
The documents released today confirm City Manager Tom Higgins moved to replace Ellis as CFO. His letter to Ellis cites several reasons, including “failure to perform effectively as the city’s chief financial officer with a broad understanding of the organization and its operations.”
Ellis, in a 73-page response to Higgins letter filed as part of the public hearing, said Higgins’ assessment of her understanding of the organization and objectives “is highly subjective. Of course, I understand the organization and many of its operations.”
Ellis notes she was always rated as meeting or exceeding the expectations of her job. “Until the last few months, I have been rated at the City of Fort Worth as superior or outstanding.”
Ellis said her severance package was not fair, relative “to others at the executive level” in the city.
And she says, given her years of service, the city owed her better than “being terminated the morning after a long Martin Luther King holiday weekend and then goose-walked out of City Hall, as if I were a criminal or deserving of the treatment.”
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter