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'Over half of us are not mad': Lacy Lakeview city employees support City Manager after 'hostile work' claims

Tuesday night agenda
The "the undersigned employees of The City of Lacy Lakeview" letter
Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 24, 2024

LACY LAKEVIEW, Texas — You may remember 25 News reporter Bobby Poitevint reporting on anonymous letters sent to our newsroom last week signed by “the city employees of the City of Lacy Lakeview.”

In the letters, there are allegations of a hostile work environment created by city leaders, like City Manager Calvin Hodde — alleging questionable actions made by Hodde — but other city employees tell a different story.

Tomas Cardoza is the building official for the City of Lacy Lakeview — he says he has been a city employee for 20 years.

"Man, I love coming to work — I've got more vacation than anybody combined and I still come to work because I love my job," he said.

He supports Calvin Hodde and doesn't feel like the city manager has created a hostile work environment.

"This man has come in and brought positive in this city," adding Hodde has made "everybody feel important."

Cardoza was the first person to sign a letter with 21 signatures from "the undersigned employees of the City of Lacy Lakeview".

This letter was sent to 25 News, Lacy Lakeview City Council members, Mayor Niecey Payne, and City Manager Calvin Hodde.

The letter says allegations laid out in the anonymous letters released last week "do not represent the sentiments of the majority of employees within our organization" and they do not feel "coerced" or "fearful" and feel that Hodde is "transparent" and they are "confident" in Hodde's abilities to lead as City Manager.

"Over half of us are not mad at this gentlemen" and "I have no problem with this man," Cardoza said.

Cardoza approached 25News' Bobby Poitevint Tuesday night wanting to share what he and other employees are saying.

A City Council executive session was held Tuesday night where no action was taken on the matter.

On the agenda was the City Manager, City Secretary, and Human Resources.

In her first media interview about the allegations, Mayor Payne says the matter is not "debunked" and calls the letters from the anonymous employees "alarming."

"I think for some of the other city council members, they were not as alarmed or it has a sense of value because they were anonymous."

"I just want to mention that, that it was sent anonymously — It is my hope that some of them if they feel like that and have a real hostile work environment to come forward," Mayor Payne said.

City Manager Calvin Hodde declined to do an interview Tuesday night.

He says he does not believe in anonymous letters and says the anonymous letters do not represent the city.

Hodde directed 25 News to the letter from "the undersigned employees of the City of Lacy Lakeview."