KCCB executive director steps down
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The members of the Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Commission held a special meeting on Monday evening to discuss the executive director position with interim City Manager Ryan Haverlah, Solid Waste Director Quinn Vance, and Public Works Director Michael Cleghorn.
As of Monday, Silvia Rhoads, who had been at the helm of KCCB for 12 years along with being the city’s Recycling Superintendent, transferred to a new position in the city’s Finance Department. As such, Rhoads could no longer remain as executive director.
Haverlah additionally told the board that the time commitment of the recycling superintendent to KCCB would have to change.
“Ms. Rhoads has done a tremendous amount of work to be as beneficial to our community as it has been,” Haverlah said. “I think all of you recognize that Ms. Rhoads has really done the bulk of the work. Even though you have meetings and show up to events, there are a whole lot of things that go on behind the scenes, administratively, coordinating vendors, working it out with TxDOT for roadway cleanups.
“It takes lot of coordination to make those events happen. I say all that because this position has changed significantly.”
Haverlah said he wanted to make sure the board understood that and they could discuss how to move forward with KCCB. Rhoads’ KCCB duties were taking up more than the 20 percent of time that was slotted for her with the new reclassified position, which took on a supervisory role in contrast to the recycling coordinator.
At one point during the more than one-hour discussions, Rhoads spoke up, saying that she wished she had been given the opportunity to make it work.
“I was totally willing when my job changed to superintendent, I was willing to do all aspects of the job of superintendent. I was never told that I would have to do less with KCCB. I believe that I could have done both, given enough time. but I feel that I was not given the chance to do that, to succeed or to fail. I became the superintendent a week before we received our new director, and it immediately became clear that I was to do very little with KCCB. That is not what I agreed to, when I agreed to the superintendent’s position.”
Some members discussed the idea of KCCB’s executive director being someone in another city department. According to the group’s bylaws, the executive director must be an employee of the city or designated representative who is non-voting, ex-officio member of the commission and that the executive director shall work under the supervision and control of the Solid Waste Department.
“When I read this, there’s a conflict within our bylaws, and when I read this, to me, it doesn’t say that the executive director has to be under Solid Waste,” said board member Rebecca Lack. “We need clarification.”
Haverlah said from a structural and organizational standpoint, as interim city manager he would never put an employee in another department as the executive director from KCCB and also require that employee to report to somebody else.
“To have two bosses, I would not approve an employee to do that…based on the bylaws, it will be a Solid Waste employee.”
Board member Cesar Munguia suggested perhaps the KCCB executive director position should be split off to its own position, given the scope of the job.
“We are one of the more active advisory boards. When I get an email the exact same day as learning that the executive director who has, for all intents and purposes, walked away from (the job), saying that we just scored a 99 percent on our last evaluation from the state, that’s saying something. That’s kind of a contradiction…if it’s such a big fulltime job, then maybe someone should make it a fulltime job, and go in front of the council to do that.”
Haverlah said a part-time position might be a possibility, but not a full-time position, based on what he saw right now in the Solid Waste Department.
Board president Annie Zehr told Haverlah that without an executive director, the commission will need assistance with a number of things, such as having someone to make budgeted purchases and handle communications regarding events and more.
Board members also volunteered to do more where they could. Haverlah promised that he would have another executive director in place “soon.” He said the board would have access to the information it needed to function, information that would previously been provided by Rhoads.
Haverlah told Zehr she was welcome to contact him for what she needed for the future, upcoming events.
As of Tuesday morning, board member cesar Munguia resigned, stating that “even after the Interim City Manager conceded that the KCCB is one of the most active Advisory Boards, to still require less attention to the KCCB by the Executive Director is baffling. With big events coming up in the next 30 days, this conveys to me a lack of commitment and support to the KCCB’s mission.”
During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, KCCB operated with a $23,145 budget under the city’s Solid Waste Department
In the 12 years with Rhoads as the director, KCCB, as a Keep Texas Beautiful affiliate, won the Governor’s Community Achievement Award in 2013 and 2017, which included a total of $420,000 in state-funded landscaping grants to be spent on TxDOT roadways in Copperas Cove – in this case, a portion of the Business 190 median that is being designed.
As the city’s recycling coordinator, Rhoads oversaw the Solid Waste Department’s transition to single-stream recycling, which took place area by area over the period of several years.
The council-appointed board of 15 will continue to operate under Annie Zehr, board president. The group’s next event is a waterway cleanup on Saturday, May 5.