City Council sends manager retainer back to staff

Posted 6/5/19

The Port Townsend City Council sent a proposed retainer agreement with City Manager David Timmons back to staff for review to address concerns about the terms of the contract.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

City Council sends manager retainer back to staff

Posted

The Port Townsend City Council sent a proposed retainer agreement with City Manager David Timmons back to staff for review to address concerns about the terms of the contract.

Timmons recused himself from the discussion and Finance and Administrative Services Director Nora Mitchell explained the retainer was written in response to suggestions that Timmons receive six months of health care coverage after he retires.

The retainer budgeted $18,000 for Timmons, or $3,000 per month, with the side benefit of covering as many as 25 hours of consultant time from Timmons per month, for the six months after his departure, so as to provide a transition between Timmons and whatever new city manager is chosen.

Mitchell clarified that Timmons is already on Medicare, so this retainer would allow him to purchase health insurance on his own.

City Council member Bob Gray was taken aback by the cost of health insurance for one person that the retainer implied.

Gray also questioned whether Timmons or the new city manager could choose to exceed the 25 hours per month allotted by the retainer, thereby incurring extra costs beyond the $18,000 specified.

City Council member Michelle Sandoval was the first of the council members to ask to see the contract, which Mitchell agreed could be done, although she noted city staff typically just supply the outlines of such contracts.

Council member Pam Adams voiced concerns that the wording of the retainer could leave the new city manager feeling obligated to utilize Timmons.

As such, Adams recommended the retainer’s language be very clear that Timmons would offer input “at the pleasure of the new manager.”

Fellow council member David Faber pointed out that the retainer resembles commonplace transitional agreements in the private sector.

Faber also approved of the fact that Timmons would not be given office space during those six months.

Gray expressed the belief that city staff could handle the transition without Timmons’ input, while fellow council member Amy Howard recalled workplace transitions of her own during which she’d wished that someone with institutional knowledge had been available to her.

Sandoval countered concerns about Timmons possibly making the new city manager feel encroached upon by recalling how Timmons had initially responded to suggestions of a transitional period by saying, “No way, I’m out,” precisely because he wished to avoid imposing upon his successor.

Although Faber initially moved to approve the retainer and call for a second reading, after Mayor Deborah Stinson pointed out that only ordinances typically have a second reading, Faber agreed with Howard’s suggestion that the retainer be tabled and sent back to staff for further clarity.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment