City of Reno Approves Separation Agreement with City Manager Andrew Clinger
Reno City Council members on Wednesday agreed to a separation agreement involving City Manager Andrew Clinger, who is accused of sexually harassing three employees. Clinger announced he was resigning from his position on September 8th.
In a final 5-2 vote, Reno City Council agreed to the official severance package.
"Overall the advantage of this separation agreement - less time, less money, less city resources spent defending lawsuits," said City Attorney Karl Hall, who broke down the details.
The price tag is $227,885.00 and includes six months’ salary, payment for accrued sick leave, vacation and other benefits - but no insurance. These terms already existed in Clinger's employment contract. The only change was an addition of $30,000 for legal fees.
"If we go under the removal provision, he's not entitled to, arguably attorney's fees," says Hall. “Although there is a clause in his contract for the City to indemnify him." Which means it would end up costing the City more in legal fees to negotiate the legal fees.
The separation agreement is just that - an agreement between the two parties and not a removal or firing of Andrew Clinger.
Hall said he had three main reasons for recommending it. Foremost, Clinger now waives his right to sue the city for wrongful termination, defamation, libel or slander. Secondly, Hall said by accepting the agreement, there will be no delay while waiting for the ongoing sexual harassment investigation to conclude. "And we're not looking two weeks down the road to have another hearing, which could also be the basis for additional litigation over the hearing process and due process," added Hall.
The third and final reason is this will now allow the City to appoint a new city manager in a prompt manner.
Council members Jenny Brekhus and Paul McKenzie voted against the separation agreement. Brekhus said she couldn't support special treatment of an employee. McKenzie said the City should wait for the investigation to be completed before agreeing to anything.
The investigation into sexual harassment charges against Andrew Clinger are expected to wrap up mid-October.
Assistant city manager Bill Thomas will continue as acting manager until a new city manager is found.
Clinger released this letter on September 8, 2016 -
“I have enjoyed my time as City Manager and take great pride in the accomplishments of this city over past years. Councils past and present have come together in times of crisis and opportunity to move Reno forward and greet each challenge and opportunity with passion and care. I am proud to call Reno my home and grateful to work and raise my family here. So, it will be with a heavy heart that I announce I will be leaving the City Manager’s position effective October 9th. I will do so, for the most part, with fond memories.
Obviously, the last few weeks have been challenging for me and my family. No one enjoys having their name sullied or their professional conduct questioned. However, I have complete confidence my reputation will be cleared when this process is completed. The findings of the initial investigation now known to most all involved found no evidence of wrong doing, because none occurred. Given that, I look forward to the full public release of this investigation in the coming days, so that everyone will know the real facts in this case.
I wish the Mayor and the council success in their future endeavors and nothing but the best for our city. I am humbled and honored to have served Reno.”