Eutaw, AL, October 4, 2020: Eleven residents of the City of Eutaw, including City Councilwoman, Sheila Smith, filed a lawsuit today against Mayor Raymond Steele, to compel him to allow an audit and a water management consulting firm to go to work to resolve the problems of the City of Eutaw Water Department.
The Civil lawsuit, titled SHEILA SMITH ET AL V. RAYMOND STEELE 35-CV-2020-900052.00 was electronically filed this morning in the Greene County Circuit Clerk’s Office.
The lawsuit is in response to Mayor Steele’s actions blocking CPA Donald Woods of Tuscaloosa from auditing the Eutaw Water Department and Water Management Associates, a Montgomery based water management consulting firm, from gaining access to the Eutaw Water Department to begin a process of correcting the problems of this crucial city department.
The Eutaw City Council approved by a 5-0 vote, the contract for Water Management Associates (WMA) to begin working on September 1, 2020. Mayor Steele refused to sign the contract, saying the Council did not have authority to make the contract. The Council then voted by a 4-0 vote, to authorize Mayor Pro Temp LaJeffrey Carpenter to sign the contract with WMA.
Mayor Steele refused Kathy Horne and two technical associates from WMA access to the Eutaw Water Department, on September 1, 2020, and threatened them with arrest for trespassing. The WMA staff was unwilling to risk arrest to implement their contract to improve the water system.
The lawsuit also calls for the Mayor and the City to implement a policy of not accepting cash for water bills that the Eutaw City Council enacted in February 2020 but which the Mayor decided to ignore and never implement.
Councilwoman Smith said, “We filed this lawsuit to compel Mayor Steele to carry out the wishes of the Eutaw City Council to straighten out the City Water Department from top-to-bottom. We
wanted to file before Tuesday’s Runoff Election so the Mayor and the voters of Eutaw would know we want to see these problems resolved now.”
A copy of the lawsuit as filed, follows for you to read.