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Here’s The Scoop … 7/14/09 LBTS … Commission Meeting … # 4 …. IT’S FICTION … 2-TOWN MANAGER’S CONTRACTS ….

IT’S PURE FICTION….

Dear Readers …Here is the first part of the New Business agenda item put on by Comm. Dodd that got this writer doing a little research……. How did the Manager’s assertions stand up to the facts….concerning her contract and that of her former boss….The results are quite astonishing….BUT, why am I not surprised?….

New Business item 16 C…..

Discussion and/or action to instruct Town staff to investigate: 1) Terms of contract termination agreements for surrounding municipalities, and 2) Ways to minimize termination costs for immediate firing, resignation and allowing a manager to finish the terms of the current contract (Commissioner Dodd)

The Mayor read the item…

Comm. Dodd – ” Yes, I put this on the agenda because I received a number of calls um, I’ve received a number of requests that we get rid of the Town Manager and not Chief Gooding. So I decided I would put this on the agenda because I had no idea as to what the approximate costs would be. I understand the Town Manager wrote her own contract and I would  need the Town Attorney to clarify. As I read the contract this dais would need to pull 1 years salary to terminate under the current agreement. So frankly if you’ve only been in a job for 18 months the entitlement to 12 months pay if you’re terminated strikes me as a little bit excessive. And I wanted to make sure that every single commissioner up here was aware of any of the implications taken when people say well get rid of the Town Manager. I want to go on and say that I currently don’t  want to terminate the Town Manager’s contract. Um, I would like to do a full review because I have some comments that might be helpful. I will carry on working from the outside and put items on the agenda for discussion and continue to question in depth the workings of the administration and if I find them lacking I will publicly bring it to your attention out there. And I would like the commission’s approval to ask staff to follow up and have the answers presented at the next meeting in in a tabulation form so that any elected official up here knows the full costs and can answer the questions from the residents who continue to press for the Manager’s dismissal. I will also request the Town Attorney answer how do we change the contract to realistically provide the correct remuneration for the termination that would be commensurate with service. Because I don’t believe that TWO YEARS of service warrants a full year’s salary. And that’s why I put this on the agenda…..”

BC- Comm. Dodd was referring to  this…ACTING Town Manager Esther Colon was asked if she wanted to be Town Manager at the April 24, 2007 Commission meeting …on page 25 of the archived minutes …

Consent Agenda item G….”Discussion and/ or action regarding how to proceed on the issue of Town Manager Baldwin’s resignation (Mayor Parker —-tabled from 4/10/07)

Mayor Parker stated the Commission had accepted Mr. Baldwin’s resignation….and said they needed to take steps to figure out what they were going to do…Comm McIntee motioned to have Esther Colon appointed TM and requested the TM car be returned immediately…”He stated the Town workers have a right to know who their boss is”…Discussion followed about keeping Esther Colon as Acting TM while they looked for a permanent TM…Comm. Clark asked Esther if she “was agreeable to that”…

“ACTING TOWN MANAGER COLON STATED THAT SHE WAS TIRED OF SITTING SECOND FIDDLE TO EVERYONE. SHE SAID EITHER SHE’S THE TOWN MANAGER OR SHE’S GOING BACK TO FINANCE.”

Mayor Parker asked her if she was willing to take the job permanently…

“ACTING TOWN MANAGER COLON STATED SHE IS WILLING TO TAKE THE POSITION WITH THE SAME CONTRACT THAT ROBERT BALDWIN HAD WITH THE EXCEPTION THAT SHE WILL NOT WORK ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS.”

Mayor Parker moved …2nd by Comm. Clark to appoint Esther Colon as Town Manager with “THE SAME CONTRACT AS ROBERT BALDWIN WITH ONE EXCEPTION.”

Comm. Yanni asked if the Town would need a new Finance Director…

“ACTING TOWN MANAGER COLON STATED THAT FOR 11 WEEKS SHE HAD BEEN DOING FIVE JOBS, AND THE ONLY THING SHE IS ASKING OF THE COMMISSION IS THEY HIRE PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE IN TOWN. SHE SAID IT MAY TAKE LONGER, BUT SHE’D RATHER HAVE A DECENT STAFF THAT CAN WORK TOGETHER TOWARDS.”

There was some posturing between Comm. McIntee and Mayor Parker over who made the motion for her TM position and then everyone withdrew their motions….Comm. Silverstone made the motion and VM Yanni 2nd it to appoint Esther Colon TM immediately…..the motion passed 5-0

At the  May 22, 2007 Commission meeting on page 19 under Consent agenda…..

” Commissioner Silverstone stated that Esther took over Robert Baldwin’s old contract, and in that contract he was given 10 weeks off a year that was supposed to be unpaid”

“TOWN MANAGER COLON INDICATED THAT HER NEW CONTRACT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE 10 WEEKS.”

“Comm. Silverstone stated that she was being paid the same but working more, and thanked her for doing that.”

Mayor Parker wanted to correct Comm. Silverstone’s statement…Baldwin’s 10 weeks were” UNPAID LEAVE  and if he took it it would have reduced his salary”

“Commissioner McIntee said that Town Manager Colon took the 10 weeks out of the contract without anyone asking her to do so. He said that if she is gone for ten weeks, then the second in command has to step in and get paid 10% over his payroll. She stated she gave the commission a very nice gesture without asking for it. . SHE SAID SHE REMOVED OTHER THINGS AS WELL, ON HER OWN.”

THE MAY 22, 2009 AGREEMENT…(LBTS/ESTHER COLON)

3.0 TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT

3.1 In accordance with Section 5.3 of the TOWN Charter, the Town Manager serves at the pleasure of the TOWN commission and the TOWN MANAGER’S TERM OF EMPLOYMENT IS THEREFORE NOT FOR A FIXED TERM.

3.4 THE TERM OF THE TOWN MANAGER SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE COMMENCED APRIL 24, 2007.

4.o Termination of the agreement (page 2 of the contract)… 4.0.1- can only come from a mutual agreement/4.1.2 the TM’s sustained inability for 90 calendar days in a 120 day period to perform all or substantially all of her duties and obligations pursuant to her contract as a result of physical or mental illness or condition/ 4.1.3 Town Commission’s unilateral decision of the TM’s 4.1.4 death or 4.1.5 resignation

5.0 Unilateral decision of the Town to terminate…5.1 in writing , following a vote by Town Comm. and need not reflect performance related reasons…..5.1.1 365 days severance pay less customary withholding/ 5.1.2 reimbursement for unreimbursed expenses/ 5.1.3 an amt. for all accrued and unused vacation leave/ 5.1.4 an amt. for all accrued  and unused sick leave/5.1.5 an amt. for accrued compensatory time prior to appointment as TM

Page 3 …if the termination of the TM is mutually agreed to (6.0 ) …severance benefits are agreed to…meaning negotiated….disability or death (7.0) base salary to  date of death or last day of work if disability and reimbursement for reimbursed expenses…accrued leaves,,,life and /or death benefits/ accrued compensatory time prior to apt. as TM/ resignation (8) same as 7.0…and the TM has to put resignation in writing through Town Clerk…with resignation within 30 days…of notice…

AGREEMENTS WITH FORMER TOWN MANAGER BOB BALDWIN….

At a Special Commission Meeting Wed. August 23,1995…. the Town entered into an agreement with Bob Baldwin…it was based on his predecessor’s July 11,1994 agreement (below)…The meeting minutes say the previous TM was suspended with pay…they needed an interim TM and contacted Baldwin who was there 1st choice when they hire the TM in 1994…Baldwin was available…after much discussion Vice- Mayor Parker moved to ask the Town Atty. to offer the TM position on an interim basis to Baldwin under the same terms and condition as the outgoing TM…

[From the ] THE ORIGINAL July 11, 1994 Contract that was used for Town Manager Baldwin….

page 1…Section 2…Term

A . “Employee agrees to remain in exclusive employ of employer until September 30, 1996……

B. In the event written notice is not given by either party to this agreement to the other ninety (90) days prior to the termination date hereinabove provided, this agreement shall be extended on the same terms and conditions as herein provided, all for an additional period of two years.Said agreement shall continue thereafter for two year periods unless either party hereto gives 90 days written notice to the other party that the party does not wish to extend this agreement for an additional two year term.

C. Nothing in this agreement shall prevent, limit or otherwise interfere with the right of the Commission to terminate the services of employee at any time., subject only to the provision employment, then Employee shall give employer two (2) months notice in advance, unless the parties agree otherwise.

Section 4: Termination and Severance Pay

A. In the event Employee is terminated by the Commission before expiration of the aforesaid term of employment and during such time that employee is willing and able to perform his/her duties under the agreement, then in that event Employer agrees to pay Employee a lump sum cash payment equal to four (4) months aggregate salary, benefits, and deferred compensation. Employee shall also be compensated for all earned sick leave, vacation, holidays, compensatory time and other accrued benefits to date. If employee is terminated for cause or conviction, then, in that event, Employer shall have no obligation to pay the aggregate severance sum designated in the above paragraph.

A Dec 28, 2001 letter to the Comm. from TM Baldwin says that he was appointed as an interim manager under the same terms as the previous manager…agreed that his tenure was on a week to week basis OBVIATING  THE NEED FOR THE SEVERANCE  PROVISION or notice requirements in the contract….Baldwin then states the Commission requested he drop the word interim on the title…and the Commission made changes to the Manager’s pay and benefits, The week to week basis of his apt. remained unchanged and he continued to SERVE at “OUR MUTUAL DESIRE”…

LAST PARAGRAPH….

” If you have any residents approach you on my behalf for a long-term contract, they are not representing me. I remain satisfied serving at your pleasure, on a week to week basis,

WITH NEITHER CONTRACTED SEVERANCE PAY NOR NOTICE REQUIREMENTS.” Bob Baldwin

A Town of LBTS Memorandum June 14, 2006…to the Commission (including Comms. McIntee/Silverstone) from TM Bob Baldwin….subject Employment Contract…

“Because some of you were not on the Commission when my employment contract was approved, some questions have arisen; let me remind the Town of a few points concerning our agreement.

The Commission employed me as Acting Town Manager under basically the same terms as the prior manager. I was hired with the understanding that I had other employment obligations and opportunities. The Commission agreed that I was hired on a week to week basis and that I only was required to give five days notice if I needed to resign. Though not discussed, presumably, I WAS NOT ENTITLED TO THE SEVERANCE PAY PROVISION OF THE CONTRACT IF THE COMMISSION DECIDED MY SERVICES WERE NO LONGER NEEDED.

The Commission also agreed that I could seek and participate in other job opportunities, allowing me up to ten weeks per year, unpaid, to perform consulting assignments.

THIS IS THE STATUS QUO, AND THE TERMS UNDER WHICH I AM CURRENTLY UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE TOWN.”

BC- There you have it, unless there was another contract drawn up that I have not been privy to ……between June 2006 and the beginning of 2007….the exchange that took place between Comm. Silverstone and TM Colon on July 14th….was not the case……see below…

Back to….July 14,2009 …Commission meeting…

Comm. Silverstone- (responding to Comm. Dodd’s item and comments)….” Well I think this was totally inappropriate and I think it’s also totally inappropriate to put this on the agenda and then state that you have no desire to ah, to um, remove the Town Manager . Point of clarification for the Town Manager. AH, TOWN MANAGER DID YOU DRAW THIS CONTRACT UP?

TM-” THE FORMER TOWN ATTORNEY WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE COMMISSION.”

CS-” AND WASN’T THERE AN EXISTING CONTRACT WE HAD WITH MR. BALDWIN AT THAT TIME , SAME CONTRACT RIGHT?”

TM- ” JUST ABOUT THE SAME EXCEPT UM, I DID NOT GET THE 10 WEEKS OFF, IF I WOULD’VE KNOWN THIS THEN I WOULD HAVE REQUESTED IT.”

CS- LAUGHED! “THAT’S AN IMPORTANT POINT , THE OLD CONTRACT THE THING THAT  WAS CHANGED WAS THAT THE PRIOR CONTRACT HE WAS GIVEN 10 WEEKS OFF TO DO ANYTHING HE WANTED, AH, WHAT WAS CHANGED ACCORDING TO THE TOWN MANAGER WHICH WE JUST HEARD THAT WAS REMOVED.”

BC- Not quite the case Jimmy -boy…according to the archived papers…

Former TM Baldwin began his appointment with a contract carried over from the prior TM….then modified with the Commission…….not the contract that TM Colon now has …(again, she is on the record saying she “removed other things as well, on her own”…5/22/07)….

Former TM Baldwin had no severance package in his agreements let alone a years salary  as TM Colon now has in her agreement………

Former TM Baldwin served under “mutual desire”in his agreements… not at the “pleasure of” that provides the  3.1″employment clause….containing NO fixed term” as TM Colon now has in her agreement…

Former TM Baldwin did have UP to 10 weeks UNPAID…to perform consulting assignments…..in his agreements…

BUT which really is the better deal?…

In this taxpayer’s opinion….without a doubt…Former Town Manager Baldwin’s contracts were better for the Town…”FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE”….

And Town Manager Colon…was without a doubt….”FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE” for the taxpayers from the moment she signed her non- fixed term contract!…

More to come…on this item on the agenda….

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