Former town manager’s severance pay will cost town $85,829; interim town manager chosen

Former town manager Bill Vance’s firing will cost the city $85,829.53 in severance and taxes.

During the town commission meeting Tuesday night, city staff presented its calculations for the amount. Vance, who earned $171,200 per year, was fired without cause in an emergency town commission meeting on Jan. 8. 

He was hired in February 2019, replacing Bud Bentley upon his retirement.

The severance package owed to Vance is 20 weeks of pay [$65,848], his unused vacation time [$11,492.12], medical insurance [$2,572.89] and FICA [$5,916.52]. The amount given to him will have federal income tax, social security and Medicare taxes removed.

In the interim, Linda Connors has been tasked with running the town until a new town manager is hired. She has been with the city since 2011 as its development services director.

During the Jan. 8 meeting, Mayor Chris Vincent said that he was concerned with Vance’s communication, his handling of the budget, his management abilities, and his understanding of the town and its needs.

Vincent also noted that Vance had approached him about adding a clause in his contract to have guaranteed raises. Commissioner Elliot Sokolow was the lone “no” vote in firing Vance, saying he needed more time to think about it and proposed waiting until the commission’s meeting the following week to take a vote.

In March 2020, at Vance’s one-year performance review, the commission voted to give him a seven percent raise. He also received a 4.19 out of 5 score from the commission at that time. 

In 2010, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea fired its town manager and interim town manager in the space of a week. Connie Hoffman stepped up as a second interim town manager, then stayed on permanently until 2016. As the town now searches for a new town manager, she has volunteered her time to help with the transition, Commissioner Edmund Malkoon said.

“We’ve learned in the past when we had a prior separation,” Mayor Chris Vincent said during the meeting. “I think we did our best to avoid what we experienced then and did a phenomenal job and I think we’re going to move forward through this without any issue or concerns.”

After unanimously approving the severance package, the town commission lauded Connors and town staff for stepping up during the sudden staffing change.

“She takes her time. She wants to make the right decision and she’s being very thorough in the recommendations that she brings back to this commission,” Malkoon said of Connors. “Every time I have a question there is an answer.”

Connors responded, saying, “Thank you so much for your faith and I want to mention that it’s not just me – the entire staff has been phenomenal in helping us get through this process.”

Originally published in The New Pelican

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