Managers contract discussed in private

First Posted: 3/6/2009

With only about three weeks left until the employment contract of City Manager Don Brookshire expires, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners discussed a new arrangement when meeting behind closed doors Thursday night.
The council, along with Mayor Jack Loftis and City Attorney Hugh Campbell, entered the closed session at the conclusion of a regular meeting at the Municipal Building, a session from which Brookshire was excluded.
He waited in another portion of the building as the other city officials discussed personnel and attorney-client-privilege matters in a small conference room. However, no official action has been taken regarding the contract.
City officials who were contacted afterward would not comment on specific issues aired Thursday night, citing the confidentiality of the subject matter. But the mayor indicated Friday that a revised contract is being pursued for Brookshire which does not include items in the managers existing contract that were maybe questionable.
But its still in the negotiation stage, Loftis said of the contract process.
A so-called golden parachute provision in the present agreement entitles Brookshire to receive certain considerations should he be terminated without cause. Included are a minimum severance payment equal to one year of his salary, and being paid for accrued vacation time, sick leave, paid holidays and executive leave, among other terms.
The nature of the package caused rumblings among citizens earlier this year, leading the commissioners to vote on Jan. 15 not to renew Brookshires contract containing the controversial items when it expires on March 31.
In doing so, the board beat a 60-day deadline that would have caused the present contract first adopted in 2005 to be automatically renewed otherwise. Commissioners emphatically have said that the quality of Brookshires work is not at question, but the nature of the contract.
The Jan. 15 action means that Brookshire, whose salary is more than $90,000 per year, will be working without a contract on April 1, unless a new one is approved before then. The commissioners are scheduled to hold another meeting this month, on March 19, when that issue could be addressed.
While a written agreement is not required for a city manager to be employed, the mayor suggested earlier this year that another proposal could be worked out with Brookshire concerning his ongoing employment.
Presumably, the commissioners have explored various contractual issues with the city attorney, which now will be presented to a lawyer representing Brookshire, but that could not be confirmed.
The mayor said that talks are going on between the two sides, but declined to elaborate, referring further questions to Campbell, who did not want to comment Friday.
I dont want it to be negotiated in the newspaper, the city attorney said of the contract situation.
Brookshire repeatedly has declined to make any statement on the issue.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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