After serving as El Dorado Municipal Court judge for 25 years, Gene White’s tenure abruptly came to a halt at the end of 2013.
White said in mid-November Marci Fugarino, City of El Dorado human resources director, called him and told him Herb Llewellyn, city manager, wanted to talk to him.
“I walked into her office and sat down, and the boss (Llewellyn) came in and said ‘Jan. 1, quit or I fire you,’” White said.
He said he was shocked by the demand and said he had been there 25 years and was never told he was not doing his job well.
“He told me, ‘This is not a discussion. Quit or I will fire you,’” White said. “It just didn’t seem quite right.”
White was to call the city the next day with his answer.
“I called Marci the next day and said ‘No drama. I’m out of here. I quit,’” he said.
He said when he called back the next day he did say he had never had a day off and never had a sick day so he wanted the month of December off with pay.
“She called me back the next day and said ‘done,’” he said.
“I did accept his resignation and he is no longer the municipal judge,” said Llewellyn. “He spent 20 years on the bench and before that he was the mayor, so there has been lots of good service.”
When asked if White had been asked to resign, Llewellyn responded, “In general no one has ever been terminated, since I’ve been here, without cause. That’s my policy, but Gene did resign, and I accepted his resignation.”
“I loved the job,” White said. “It was a remarkable place to do good works. The system itself is kind of designed to eat people up. I thought it just gave me a marvelous opportunity to, on occasion, help people a tiny bit to help get their lives in order. I really enjoyed the privilege of serving the people of El Dorado. I thought it was an honor and although I never thought I was important, I thought the job was very important and hoped each day I discharged my responsibilities honorably and well. It was a good run and I appreciate the privilege to serve the city.”
White will be continuing with his law practice in El Dorado.
He said his secretary retired in April and he had been slowing down a bit, but he will still be there for a while.
Page 2 of 2 - “I love the privilege of being a lawyer,” he said. “I always took great pride in the opportunity to do that.”