The statement “hostile work environment” has become common among current, and past City of Mansfield employees.
Initially, Mansfield Recorder Treasurer, Becky Walker made a public statement to the City Council addressing her personal issues with Mayor Larry Austin, and claimed to work in a hostile environment. Austin denied these accusations when questioned by the council. No action was taken that night.
Walker was then asked at a meeting several weeks later if this issue was better or worse. Walker stated, “It’s still the same, and nothing has changed.”
Then, at last Thursday nights weekly City Council meeting, Braden Purcell plainly stated he was working in a hostile environment, and was unable to make the needed repairs to the already violation ridden waste water plant. Purcell, who was hired just over a month ago, pointed his frustrations of working in a hostile environment towards Mayor Larry Austin, and City Works Director, Ken Swilling.. You can watch the LIVE feed recording from 02/22/2018 at this link .
Purcell was interviewed by both Mayor Austin, and Mansfield Public Works Director, Ken Swilling and hired as the Waste Water Operator.
Both Walker, and Purcell work within the reigns of Mansfield city government, having differing duties, and roles. Walker, who is an elected official and does not answer to the Mayor, was given Mayoral duties in a recent vote to remove powers from the Mayor himself in order to conduct business more effectively. The City Council removed the powers that were not associated with Arkansas State law, leaving the Mayor the ability to hire, fire, and to conduct meetings.
Before Thursday’s meeting, Purcell reported to Swilling directly. After the motions and votes were finished, Purcell was moved to report to the Mayor and/or the City Council.