The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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December 21, 2013

City Attorney resigns, will receive six-month severance package

CLINTON — With his resignation accepted by the Clinton City Council, City Attorney Jeff Farwell will leave with a $56,000 severance package. 

Friday, during their last meeting of the year, members of the Clinton City Council accepted Farwell's resignation and approved a separation agreement double what his contract stipulated. 

On a 5-1 vote, the council gave Farwell six months of severance pay and six months of health insurance. The package will be in effect Jan. 2, Farwell's last day, and will cost the city $45,646 for salary payments and $10,920 for health insurance premiums.

Ward 2 Councilwoman Julie Allesee voted against the severance package while Ward 4 Councilman Paul Gassman was absent. 

First, council members had to accept Farwell's resignation, which was requested during the time slotted for his performance evaluation at the Dec. 10 council meeting. The acceptance passed 6-0. 

Ward 3 Councilwoman Bev Hermann said she disagreed with Farwell's performance evaluation being done in the open, which he asked be done during the Dec. 10 meeting. She applauded him for being an excellent attorney and decried the animosity towards him that comes from some current and some incoming council members, referencing the lawsuits against the city that her replacement, Ed O'Neill is involved in and the negative scores some sitting council members gave on his performance evaluation. 

"That, along with the derogatory comments and actions from incoming council members convinced me that it's in the best interest of both the city and Jeff, that he resign and allow the new council to choose someone new to represent them," Hermann said.

Accepting Farwell's resignation was followed by some confusion surrounding how much money it should cost.

Farwell’s contract states if he is asked to resign while still being able to do his job, as he was, he would receive three months of aggregate salary. At-large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf during the last meeting asked for a six- month severance considering it was what former City Administrator Jeff Horne received when he left the city last year. 

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