Ex-City Manager To Get 6-Month Severance, Per Contract If ‘Terminated’

Ex-City Manager To Get 6-Month Severance, Per Contract If ‘Terminated’

OCEAN CITY — It may have been a “mutual” decision, but from a financial perspective City Manager David Recor was essentially terminated on Monday.

The employment agreement between Recor and the city renewed automatically for another year on June 11. Within the agreement are a number of points outlining the job requirements, expectations, an annual performance review and specific compensation and benefits details. Also included are procedures agreed upon in the event of termination and severance pay.

City officials were mum on specifics this week because it was a personnel matter, but it has been confirmed through reliable sources that Recor will receive six months of severance pay. His contract states in the event he is terminated he would receive half of his annual salary over the course of regular pay periods over six months.

“In the event city refuses or fails, following written notice, to comply with any provision benefitting Recor herein, or in the event Recor resigns following a request by the city that he resign, then in that event Recor may, at his option, be deemed to be ‘terminated’ …,” the contract reads.

The agreement clearly outlines what happens if the city terminates Recor in the middle of a contract year, which in this case runs from June 11, 2015 to June 11, 2016.

“In the event city terminates Recor before the expiration of the aforesaid term of employment, or provides Recor written notice of non-renewal, and during such time that Recor is willing and able to perform his duties under this Agreement, then in that event, city agrees to pay Recor his normal monthly salary and benefits for the month in which his duties were terminated in addition to his normal salary and benefits equivalent to six months of employment and paid on a regular pay-period basis,” the agreement reads.

In the calendar year 2014, Recor was paid $164,879, meaning the city will be on the hook for more than $82,000, which does not include health insurance costs as well as unused vacation and sick time payouts.

For what it’s worth, if Recor had voluntarily resigned his post in the middle of a contract year, he would have needed to give the city 90 days written notice and he would have been compensated for unused vacation time (he was allowed five weeks each year after his first year) but not for any unused sick leave (which he received 12 days of per calendar year).

Recor’s last day on the job was Monday, the same day he and the council reportedly “mutually agreed and accepted” his resignation in the words of Council President Lloyd Martin, who announced the move at Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting.

While the city did quickly provide this newspaper with Recor’s employment agreement after a Freedom of Information Act request on Wednesday, officials did not comment on specific questions about the financial terms of the separation.

It’s typical practice in government for high-ranking city officials to receive a severance when a separation occurs. When Recor left Fort Pierce, Fla. in 2012 under trying circumstances, it was a similar situation as here in Ocean City.  A majority of the council there voted to accept his resignation after it was clear Recor was negotiating with Ocean City to be the next city manager here.

Recor received about $153,000 as part of a severance package that was negotiated between he and Fort Pierce, Fla. at that time. He received nine months’ salary plus payment of life and medical insurance and cashed out on accrued vacation/sick time, among other accrued compensation.

In Recor’s contract with Ocean City, the terms of employment are clearly laid out and included are efforts to be made if the city finds the city manager to be performing at subpar levels.

“Recor agrees that he will at all times faithfully, industriously and to the best of his ability, experience and talents, perform all the duties which may be required of and from him pursuant to the express and implicit terms hereof, to the reasonable satisfaction of city. In the event a majority of the City Council identifies, by reasonable and objective standards, a substantial and material deficiency(s) in Recor’s performance of duty, under this Agreement, such that same constitutes a breach of this Agreement, city shall identify the substantial and material deficiency(s) with a Notice to Cure within 30 days. If Recor fails to cure the substantial and material performance deficiency(s) within 30 days, city may terminate Recor’s employment without pay or benefits pursuant to [Termination and Severance Pay].

In this case, there is no record of a “Notice to Cure” effort being requested by the council. The severance package agreed upon indicates the city was looking to provide a fair compensation to Recor without a termination on his resume. This is typical practice in government. Recent history in Ocean City confirms that as former City Manager Dennis Dare was given an ultimatum by the Mayor and Council in 2011 — resign or be fired. He chose resignation and negotiated a retirement package after 29 years of employment with the city.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.