The City Council, giving a vote of confidence to City Manager Philip Hawkey, has approved a one-year contract that increases the amount of severance pay due Hawkey if he is fired.
The contract, retroactive to Oct. 17, requires the city to give Hawkey 90 days notice and pay him six months' salary if the council fires him without cause--such as insubordination and malfeasance--within the year.
If released without cause at the end of the contract, the city is required to pay Hawkey severance pay equal to one month's salary for each year of service. Hawkey was hired by the city in 1990 and earns $132,672 a year. Before the contract, Hawkey would have received severance pay equal to two months' salary.
Councilman Rick Cole said the contract, approved on a 6-0 vote with Councilman Isaac Richard absent, is an expression of confidence in Hawkey, who has been the target of intense criticism in recent months. It also will provide incentive for new council members elected in next year's election to get to know Hawkey before passing judgment on his performance. Cole and Mayor Kathryn Nack, both supporters of Hawkey, do not plan to run for reelection.