After the sudden resignation of the newly hired Washington City Administrator Richard Downey on Aug. 15, residents are left with plenty of unanswered questions regarding his departure.



 



In documents received via a Freedom of Information Act request, the Washington Times-Reporter has learned the city has until Sept. 1 to pay Downey, in one lump-sum, the amount of seven months severance pay of $58,333.


 

UPDATED: Aug. 29 to include what Mayor Gary Manier plans to do with the open position on the city staff. 

After the sudden resignation of the newly hired Washington City Administrator Richard Downey on Aug. 15, residents are left with plenty of unanswered questions regarding his departure.

In documents received via a Freedom of Information Act request, the Washington Times-Reporter has learned the city has until Sept. 1 to pay Downey, in one lump-sum, the amount of seven months severance pay of $58,333.

Downey’s original employment contract with the city stated if the city terminated the contract then Downey would be paid six months pay in a single lump-sum payment, not the seven he will receive.

When asked why the extra month of pay will be given, City Attorney Ken Black said, “I can’t comment on that.”

When asked why severance pay was given when Downey was the one who “regretfully tendered his resignation” according to the press release from the city, Black again deferred comment and said, “All we can do is provide you with the documents and you can draw your own conclusions.”

Also as part of the resignation agreement, Downey can still receive full family health insurance coverage for the next six months in accordance with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 if he elects to do so.

He will also receive the sum of $3,000 “in full satisfaction of any relocation expenses or other expenses” he incurred from leaving Washington. He also does not have to pay back any moving costs incurred in moving from Rock Falls despite the employment contract saying he would if he terminated his contract early.

When asked why Downey wouldn’t have to pay back a pro-rated portion of moving costs when he came to Washington like the employment agreement stipulated, Black again said, “No comment.”

Downey’s original employment contract with the city required him to give at least 60 days

notice if he was wanting to terminate the agreement. He worked as city administrator for no more than 45 days after taking over for Bob Morris, who retired June 27.

His employment contract stipulated that he would be paid $100,000 and eligible for a raise pending a performance evaluation in November. The contract with the city was to go until April 30, 2013.

Black said there weren’t any formal complaints filed against Downey.

The Times-Reporter tried to contact Downey in his office the week of Aug. 8 and city officials said he was “out of the office,” without saying when he would be back. When the announcement of Downey’s resignation was made at the Aug. 15 city council meeting, Mayor Gary Manier would not comment on when Downey’s actual last day of work was. 

Despite not knowing the final day that Downey was performing his duties as the city administrator of Washington, the date in the file name on the resignation agreement signed by Downey, Manier and City Clerk Pat Brown was Aug. 12.

In return for signing the resignation agreement, Downey cannot sue the city, nor its employees, nor can either party discuss any matters involving the events that led to the employee’s departure.

“We entered into (the resignation) agreement and everybody agreed to it and we aren’t going to comment,” Black said. “We are going to move forward.”

As for moving forward, Manier said everyone at city hall is picking up the slack left by a vacated city administrator seat.

“Everyone from the elected folks to the department heads,” he said. 

“It’s tough because it’s a position that is needed obviously. I had eight and a half months of (being city administrator when I was first elected mayor). It’s interesting because you take for granted all of those little things you have to do that come along with the job title.”

Manier said while he has received probably five emails and resumes regarding the position, he might make his recommendation at the next city council meeting Sept. 6.

“From a whole council stand point I’m trying to get input from everyone ... whether it’s in the interim or the future as far as what that will be.”