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DeKalb City Council OK’s $140K in severance pay

Aldermen approve deals with 2 former building department staffers

Published: Monday, June 23, 2014 10:46 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 9:01 a.m. CST

DeKALB – The DeKalb City Council unanimously approved severance packages totaling more than $140,000 for two city employees whose jobs the city decided to outsource.

Aldermen during their regular meeting Monday signed off on separation agreements with building supervisor Kent “Lou” Larson and building inspector Dave Reynolds, who voluntarily accepted the agreements Friday.

Larson will receive $82,834. Of that amount, $32.595 will be a lump sum payment equal to 20 weeks of regular and longevity pay. The remaining $50,239 includes a $500 “separation gift” and 1,171 hours – more than seven months – in accrued vacation, sick and compensatory time at a rate of $42.476.

As stipulated by his agreement, Reynolds will receive $57,929. His separation agreement includes $31,748 in accrued time off, including sick, vacation, and compensatory time equal to 837 hours – about five months – at a rate of $37.925 an hour. Reynolds also will receive a lump sum payment of $26,181 equal to 45 days of regular and longevity pay.

The city also will pay for Reynolds’ family health insurance through Dec. 31, which city officials expect will cost around $9,500.

In turn, city officials estimate they will deduct $2,500 Reynolds would have contributed from his lump sum payout.

City Attorney Dean Frieders said lump sum payments were based on how long the employees had been with the city. Larson worked for the city for 20 years, and Reynolds for 18 years. The amount of sick, vacation and compensatory time they were allowed to accrue was set by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee collective bargaining agreement that covered both Larson and Reynolds, Frieders said.

Mayor John Rey said he felt the payouts were appropriate.

“I think the amounts in the separation agreements are fair based on the benefits that had been accrued by the employees and their length of service,” Rey said.

Building supervisor Roger Votaw also has a separation agreement with the city, although that agreement fell below City Manager Anne Marie Gaura’s $20,000 spending authority and was not made public.

Larson, Reynolds and Votaw have been on paid administrative leave since May when the city decided to look into outsourcing building and permit inspections.

Late last month, aldermen approved a contract with SAFEbuilt Illinois, Inc. to temporarily provide building inspections, which city staff said will save $250,000, or 56 percent, of the current costs to staff the department.

As part of the budget for fiscal 2015, which starts July 1 and which aldermen also approved Monday, the city will outsource building inspections and hire two part-time property maintenance inspectors.

Rey said costs drove the city to outsourcing.

“The decision tonight was to approve the voluntary separation agreements from the employees, which then leaves the city flexible to pursue the outsourcing option, which economically is more efficient,” Rey said.

Severance packages

Kent “Lou” Larson, building supervisor: $82,834

Dave Reynolds, building inspector: $57,929

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