INSET BELOW: City Manager Louie Chapman Jr.
By Tim Pallesen
City commissioners voted 4-1 on July 1 to pay $69,400 to suspended City Manager Louie Chapman Jr. for his resignation.
Mayor Cary Glickstein and Commissioner Jordana Jarjura voiced frustration as they joined Commissioners Al Jacquet and Adam Frankel to accept the buyout settlement.
Glickstein called Chapman’s settlement offer “highly repugnant.”
“It offends me that we’re being extorted to settle this,” Jarjura said.
But the four commissioners said they voted for the settlement to end a stalemate in which only three commissioners wanted to fire Chapman. The city charter requires four votes to fire a city manager.
Only Commissioner Shelly Petrolia refused to agree. “To fork over taxpayer dollars as payoff sends the wrong message,” Petrolia said.
Chapman’s settlement includes 20 weeks of pay worth $61,500 plus nine days of vacation at $5,500 and a $2,400 pension refund.
Glickstein, Jarjura and Petrolia had attempted to fire Chapman with cause after the county inspector general said Chapman misled commissioners on a $60,000 purchase of garbage carts. Chapman wouldn’t have received severance pay under his contract if a fourth commissioner had voted to fire him without cause.
Chapman’s contract entitles him to 20 weeks of severance pay if he is fired without cause.
In exchange for the buyout, Chapman promises not to sue the city.
He asked that the 90-day suspension that he received in May be revoked and replaced in his personnel file with a letter of reprimand. Commissioners balked on that request, which might affect whether Chapman signs the settlement agreement. If he does not accept the terms, the agreement may come back for further discussion at the city’s July 15 meeting.
Chapman also asked commissioners to drop any ongoing investigations about his performance and conduct. Glickstein said he is aware of one ongoing investigation that the commission is powerless to stop.
Chapman was hired to his $160,000 job in January 2013 before Glickstein, Jarjura and Petrolia were elected.
Chapman had offered to resign last May in exchange for two years of pay equal to $320,000. Commissioners rejected that settlement offer.