D’Agostino seeks severance pay

Dec. 12, 2013 @ 05:09 PM

When the Monroe City Council fired former City Manager John D’Agostino last week, the council also voted not to give him severance pay by citing a six-month probationary period in the city’s personnel regulations. 

D’Agostino’s contract, however, stipulated that should he be fired after Dec. 1 and before Aug. 11, 2014, he would receive nine-months salary and whatever vacation time had been accrued as severance pay. 

Council voted unanimously Wednesday to give D’Agostino his severance pay. Council member Billy Jordan made the motion they pay D’Agostino to avoid having the issue drag out in the courts.

Last Thursday, D’Agostino sent a demand for payment letter to Assistant City Manager Greg Demko. 

“It is my understanding that the City Council voted not to grant my severance pay because I did not complete my six-month probationary period,” D’Agostino wrote. “According to my contract, the payment of severance pay is not predicated upon a successful completion of a probationary period. Such a clause if included would render the the severance clause null and void until such probationary period was satisfied.” 

D’Agostino explained in the letter that his contract states that the employer is not obligated to pay a severance if an employee is terminated because of a felony conviction or other detrimental conduct. However, he pointed out, since he did neither of those things, the severance section of his contract applies. 

D’Agostino gave the council 10 days to act upon his letter. 

Since 2000, Monroe has spent $524,623.90 in severance pay to city managers. Jerry Cox received $73,077.50; Doug Spell received $58,000; Craig Meadows received $137,904; Wayne Herron received $150,654.40 and D’Agostino received $104,988. 

In addition to severance expenses, the city paid search firm Colin Baenziger & Associates $21,500 to conduct the search that led to D’Agostino’s hire. The city also paid a total of $72,249.69 to the law firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein to conduct a council and manager relationship study.