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N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
July 25, 2013     N. Warren Town and County News
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July 25, 2013

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:3 i.,'~ RL-TO/~ H:---/',~-:~ S "-~,~E::r 20--"~ 8- i[| 'i 'iI qll~" OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER FOR NORWALK COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT City Council Work Session Agenda page 3 Norwalk Warriors , Vol. 45 No. 10 Norwalk, Iowa 50211 USPS No. 395-120 Phone 981-0406 email: news@norwalknewspaper.com Thursday, July 25, 2013 LETTERS We publish letters to the editor when they are not libelous and when they are signed by the person or persons submitting them. Opinions expressed are not necessarily the opinions of the N/Warren Town and County News staff. Letters are printed as received. We do not correct spelling and grammatical errors. Golden Parachute Contract could mean nearly $1 Million Payday for Norwalk City Manager "Golden Parachutes" are specifications in an employ- ment contract that compensate employees if they are terminated without cause. In a July 18, 2012 article by the Des Moines Register, they reported that "contracts for top managers of the biggest cities in Iowa specify some form of payout if they're forced out of their jobs." Based on their review of contracts for city managers in the 10 biggest cities* in Iowa, they found most cities of- fered "some payout for early termination of a contract without cause, ranging from three months to a year." For example, when Tim Zisoff, former Indianola city manager, left in 2012, the Indianola City Council voted to pay him a year's salary in severance and paid him $37,400 for a 16-week leave and unused vacation. Up until recentlF NOrwalk's City Manager's contract was in alignment with other cities. In the 2012 employ- ment contract, the City could terminate the employment of the City Manager without cause. In that situation she would have received six months' severance pay and benefits. During "a June 27, 2013 Closed Session City Council meeting, three Councilmembers, Murillo, Delker and Curtis, approved a potential lottery-type windfall for the City Manager should she be terminated without cause. Councilors Sylvester and Leto and Mayor Pierce were not present. The contract was not written by the City Attorney, Jim Dougherty. The depth of his review is unclear. The new contract reads, in part: "This agreement shall remain in full force and effect from July 1, 2013 through July 1, 2018 and will continue indefinitely thereafter, unless terminated by the employee. Should the City terminate the employment of the City Manager without cause, she will receive com- pensation for the entire length of the contract and twelve (12) months severance pay and benefits. Should the City Manager beterminated within twelve months of the seating of a new council member, the severance pay will be twenty-four months severance pay and benefits." In other words, the City Council guaranteecl, and put us taxpayers on the hook for, a 5-7 or 8 yr compensation deal (depending how you interpret the timing). If I re- call correctly, the City Manager's yearly salary is $125,000 plus various benefits including a few hundred dollars each month for a vehicle stipend. You can do the math. Our City has little to no remaining capacity to issue G.O. Bonds (General Obligation) or any "rainy day" money in order to fund a potential buyout of the City Manager's new contract. The City of Norwalk would be in catch-22 because of the illogical conditions in the new contract. Once again the Norwalk City Council has tried to keep the public in the dark and railroad through a po- tential costly liability for taxpayers. Not only did this contract not receive proper vetting within the Norwalk City Government or public, it is not even close to being in alignment with the city manager contracts of compa- rable or even the largest of Iowa cities. This contract vaporizes the management powers within the City Concluded p. 11 f YOUR CITY /GOVERNMENT IN ACTION| By Mary Lou Gray Council and guests discuss City Manager's Employment Agreement that could provide up to 24 month's severance pay and effective until July 2018. The City of Norwalk July 18, 2013 council meeting was held in council chambers. Mayor Doug Pierce called the meeting to order with all council members and City Manager Marketa Oliver present. Mayor Pierce moved Items H and I from the Consent Agenda and placed them under Hearings, Ordinances and Resolutions. Resolution No. 0627-13-40 originated by Councilmember Eric Delker June 27 of this year at a special council meeting would modify the terms of the Sara Routh To Hold Record Release Concert City Manager Marketa Oliver's Employment Agreement The Norwalk High School Choral Department is originally adopted June 12, 2012. sponsoring a back-to-school concert featuring Sara A portion of the amended agreement reads as fol- Routh. Routh, along with her full band, will be celebrat- lows on Item 3 where the majority of changes were hag her debut music album release party at the Norwalk made: "Terms and Conditions: The City Manager will High School Performing Arts Auditorium Saturday, serve at the will of the Council and may be terminated Aug. 17, at 6 p.m. with or without cause at any time. Any of the following James Biehn, another-Norwa/k alum, will be joining will constitute termination with cause and would re- her or tage and opening the show with a solo set. suit in no severance: A. Willful neglect of duty. B. Gross Routh is a graduate of the Norwalk school district inefficiency or incompetence in office that is not cor- and was heavily involved in all the arts programs. She rected after a reasonable written notice. C. Malfeasance continued her education at Simpson College in in office. This agreement shall remain in full force and Indianola, where she earned her BM in music,educa- effect from July 1, 2013 tlTrough July 1, 2018 and will tion. continue indefinitely thereafter, unless terminated by Sara continued her journey to New York City, where the employee. If the Employer reduces the base salary, she spent three years studying theater and writing mu- compensation or any other financial benefit of the Em- sic. She then moved to Los Angeles to focus on her song ployee, unless it is applied in the greater percentage than writing/performing career. After four years in Los An- the average reduction of all department heads, such geles, she took off to travel the world and ended in action shall constitute a breach of this agreement and Shanghai, China. While in Shanghai, Routh continued will be regarded as a termination. her career as a performing artist with her own band "Should the City terminate the employment of the made up of musicians from all over the world. City Manager without cause, she will receive compen- Routh returned to Los Angeles in 2011 and in the sat-ion for the entire length of the contract and twelve spring of 2012, she launched a campaign on (12) months severance pay and benefits. Should the City kickstarter.com asking famil)5 friends and fans to join Manager be terminated within twelve months of the her in the production of her first length, fully or- seating of a new councilmember, the severance pay will chestrated album, be twenty-four months severance pay and benefits. Saturda Aug. 17, she will be performing all of the "If the City Manager decides to terminate employ- songs from her finished album. This will be her first ment, she will proyide the City a minimum of 30 days performance with full band, representing the release of notice of her intent to terminate. The City Manager will her record, be paid for all accrued leave upon termination of the The concert welcomes all ages and is free with a do- contract." nation of food to be taken by the Norwalk High School Former councilmembers and Norwalk residents Tom choir members to the Norwalk Food Pantry. Greteman and Dave Hixenbaugh questioned if this was a wise d cision on the part of the city council. Resolu- SALLY SPEAKS tion granting possibly seven years of guaranteed com- pensation to the City Manager was tabled for a future council meeting. This would also allow time for city By Sally Huntoon residents to discuss the resolution with councilmembers and have the public's input on such a move. Resident During the regular Thursda July 18, 2013 council Erika Isle)5 along with Sue Rewerts, stated it is very dif- meeting someone from the audience questioned why ficult to dismiss an employee and questioned why the an-item that was on the Agenda for the meeting was not council would make the agreement for 5 years with a on the Agenda that was published in the N/Warren Town 24-month severance package attached. The amended and County News. amount over the 5 to 7 years could be in the neighbor- The answer that was given was that our Friday noon . hood of $700,000 to $800,000. Look for this item on fu- deadline was too early for that item to be placed on the ture city agendas. Agenda. Council approved Resolution No. 0627-13-41 for Po- This newspaper has always tried to accommodate city lice Chief Ed Kuhl's retirement as of October 1,' 2013. and school officials with their legal publications. Sev- Council approved minutes of the June 20 Regular eral times we have received calls after the deadline and Council Meeting and June 27 Special Council Meeting. even as late as Monday morning asking if a legal notice Consent Agenda-Expenditures were approved. The could be put into the newspaper. On those occasions following tax abatements were approved: KRM Devel- when we receive the call early Monday morning, we have been able to put public notices into the paper. Concluded p. 11 dr'- I