Bach agrees to follow policy on severance pay


King: Wants the mayor to follow city policy. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • King: Wants the mayor to follow city policy.
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Mayor Steve Bach had paid $1.66 million in severance pay to 86 employees, many of them top managers, including former city attorney Chris Melcher, who now works in Georgia.

Severance pay has been a recurring issue in Bach's administration, and City Council appears to be powerless to do anything about it. 

But on Monday, Council President Keith King announced during the Council work session that he had asked Bach if he would please follow the city's policy, which states that while up to six months severance pay for employees who are terminated can be authorized by the mayor, "Any action taken under this program will be reported quarterly to City Council."

Bach has authorized severance pay for employees who resign or retire; his communications office says he's never paid severance for someone who's been terminated for cause.

"I recently sent a letter to Mayor Bach to make sure we get a quarterly report ... for at-will senior managers who get possible severence pay," King said. "We have not been receiving those reports. The mayor says he will start conforming to this policy."

That's interesting, considering that when the Independent asked the mayor about that part of the personnel policies, he said through a spokesperson, "Severance amounts paid have been widely reported in the media."

Which drew a sharp rebuke from former Council President Scott Hente, which we reported on our blog. He said in an email, "... to state that media reporting constitutes and takes the place of quarterly reporting to Council?! Give me a break."

King reports that Bach told him he would, in the future, follow the policy by reporting severance pay to Council.

Meantime, Councilor Helen Collins has proposed an ordinance that would ban severance pay, as well as other provisions.

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