This raised a number of questions, especially since no one on the present commission seems to have known about the severance. Who authored this sweet deal, how did it escape commission scrutiny and, apparently, scrutiny from city attorneys.
The commission has now said it will not honor the severance, although this resolution hasn’t yet been officially approved. The commission is citing a state law that essentially says the actions of a previous commission who approved the severance (in 2015) can’t “bind” a future commission. This would include matters of both the enactment of ordinances the execution of government contracts. But this also raises the specter that potentially any agreement with any government employee can be cancelled at any time.
Currently, employment contracts for local government employees no matter how high-ranking don’t garner a lot of discussion or public scrutiny. We asked readers if that should change.
Here’s what some of you had to say:
The residents of Avondale Estates have a right to transparency on the compensation agreement of their city manager. In fact the situation described in this article is problematic on many fronts.
Compensation guidelines for chief appointed officers developed by ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, are driven by the ICMA Code of Ethics and are intended to maintain public trust and integrity in local government.
In addition to public disclosure of the manager’s agreement, a key element of the guidelines is ensuring that the agreement and amendments are disclosed to relevant elected officials; that did not appear to happen in Avondale Estates. Finally, the guidelines specify that severance should be reasonable and affordable—it’s clear that the $317,000 severance does not meet the affordability standard.
Though Avondale Estates City Manager Clai Brown is not a member of ICMA, his position as a public servant demands the highest standards of ethical behavior and full transparency. It's what the residents of Avondale Estates and every community deserve. — Marc Ott, executive director of the International City/County Management Association
ALL information created in the process of doing the business of government should always be open for public scrutiny. The government belongs to the tax-payers. Sunshine should shine brightly everywhere in government. It's ALL public business! — Donald Varn, Roswell
BILL BANKS FOR THE AJC