The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 3, 2014

Mayor vetoes Farwell severance package

New Councilmembers react

CLINTON — Mayor Mark Vulich has vetoed the Clinton City Council’s decision to offer City Attorney Jeff Farwell a six-month severance package, calling the severance an injustice to the citizens of Clinton.

In a statement issued Thursday, Vulich said the council was justified in asking for Farwell’s resignation during the Dec. 10 meeting, but not in awarding him a severance package of six months of salary and six months of health insurance.

“In good conscious, I cannot sign this resolution as approved by the council since the severance package was increased to six months,” Vulich wrote.

According to his contract, Farwell would be offered a three-month severance package if the council asked for his resignation. During the Dec. 10 meeting, former At-Large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf suggested the council award Farwell a six-month severance package. A letter Farwell gave to Graf before that meeting noted what his contract called for, but also informed her the council was “free to offer anything” it wished.

While the council during the Dec. 20 meeting attempted to amend the separation agreement to the three-months stipulated in the contract, the motion failed on a 4-2 vote. Former Ward 3 Councilwoman Bev Hermann voted against the amendment, though she said, “I voted wrong,” after the amendment failed.

“This attempt at an amendment indicated to me that the City Council had second thoughts about the six month severance package,” Vulich wrote.

The six-month package that was ultimately approved 5-1 would have cost the city $56,000.

Vulich took time in his veto letter to explain his thoughts on the council asking for Farwell’s resignation.

“I feel Mr. Farwell has been an excellent city attorney and do not agree with the actions by the City Council to request his resignation. However, it is the prerogative of the council to terminate the city attorney’s contract at anytime, per the contract the city council and Mr. Farwell entered into at the time of his hire,” Vulich wrote. “I also am of the opinion that the city must fulfill the terms of Mr. Farwell’s contract and pay a three months severance. I feel it is an injustice to the citizens of Clinton to increase the severance package to six months given the difficult economic state of the city of Clinton.”

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