The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


December 19, 2013

Incoming council questions Farwell resignation

Members don't agree with 6-month severance


“The city attorney is too far removed from day-to-day discussions with council,” according to another.  

If approved during the City Council meeting Friday and signed by Mayor Mark Vulich, Farwell’s resignation will take effect Jan 2., the same day the new council takes office. This concerns incoming Ward 2 Councilwoman Lynn McGraw because it’s unclear where she will direct her legal questions.

Like Wilke, McGraw questioned the timing and motive for the council’s request.

“I feel like if the current council was truly concerned about the new council, we should have been allowed to make that decision once we were sworn in,” McGraw said.   

While Wilke and McGraw questioned the timing, fellow councilman-elect, future Ward 3 representative Ed O’Neill, didn’t feel the decision was being taken out of new council members’ hands.  

“If that’s what he wants to do that’s fine. I don’t think there’s any point in keeping someone who doesn’t want to stay,” O’Neill said. “If there’s someone there who doesn’t want to be, I don’t want them there.”  

O’Neill did share Wilke’s sentiment that the severance was cumbersome. Neither believe in severance being offered, but agreed that because it is in Farwell’s contract, the city should honor the three-month payout.

Farwell’s contract states if he is terminated while still being able to do his job, he would receive three months of aggregate salary. However, the contract makes no mention of severance if he voluntarily resigns without the council first asking him to tender his resignation.

Instead of three months, the council unanimously voted to offer him six months of salary and health insurance, which will cost the city $45,646 and $10,920, respectively. When making the motion, Graf noted it was the same package offered to former City Administrator Jeff Horne.  

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