Taxpayers are on the hook for $80,000, one month of health insurance and a handful of vacation days as a result of a severance agreement between now former town manager Robert Smith and the town.
Smith, who began work in town in September 2019 and left on Friday, will receive 13 paychecks of $6,154 as part of the agreement. Smith and the town have also agreed to release each other from any future litigation and to not make any disparaging remarks against one another.
The agreement ends a 13-month tenure that in its final months was marked by discord between Smith, Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown and some other members of the town council.
Smith, whose last job in a similar position in Bisbee, Arizona, lasted only 18 months before he was terminated, was hired by the town council after a second search for a town manager to replace the retiring Philip Schenck.
The town council’s first search ended badly as the first choice declined to take the job unless he was paid more than the council had budgeted for and then backed out on hiring the second finalist after beginning to negotiate with him.
Smith was one of two finalists chosen from the second search that included about two dozen initial applicants.
The council has not said when it will begin another search for a town manager, but it has rehired a familiar face to hold the position on an interim basis.
Schenck has agreed to a contract that runs through the end of February, 2021, unless either party decides to terminate it before then.
The contract calls for Schenck, who began work on Saturday, to be paid an annualized base salary of $160,000, which is the same salary that was being paid to Smith.
The contract also calls for Schenck to receive an annualized 30 days of vacation and 1.25 days of sick leave per month. He is also entitled to compensatory time for attendance at night meetings and town events outside of the normal work week.
Schenck is also permitted to fulfill his contractual obligations to teach graduate online courses with the University of New Haven through the spring semester.
Medical coverage will not be provided since Schenck already has an existing plan, according to the contract.
Schenck also has a clause in his contract requiring members of the town council to refrain from interfering in the day-to-day operations of town business, “Including specifically giving directions to any town employee in the carrying out of said business, without prior express approval of the [town manager.3/8 ”
Steven Goode can be reached at [email protected]
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