DeKALB – The City Council will address a severance agreement Monday with its former interim City Manager and Finance Director Molly Talkington.
The agenda for the council meeting includes a resolution to authorize a settlement, the details of which have not been released.
“At this time, the city, Ms. Talkington, and their respective counsels are engaged in negotiation regarding a separation agreement,” according to the agenda.
“The city has reviewed the potential litigation expense associated with defending the claims brought by Ms. Talkington and has determined that it would be less costly to enter into a separation agreement providing for the payment of a stipulated severance in lieu of undertaking that defense,” according to the agenda.
City officials have not provided any additional details on the settlement terms, but the agenda states council and the public will learn more at the council meeting.
“My hope is that we’re going to have something between now and Monday, because our goal is to be as transparent as we possibly can at the public meeting Monday,” said DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith.
Talkington’s lawyer, Keith Hunt of Hunt and Associates in Chicago, confirmed the settlement will be a severance package, and that the city made the offer.
“We’ve been trying to resolve issues over the last week or so,” Hunt said Thursday. “The discussions are ongoing.”
Talkington still holds her role as finance director but was placed on administrative leave Nov. 9 after city officials discovered an unauthorized $250,000 had been removed from the city’s insurance funds to use for budget balancing measures. Talkington later filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging discrimination and retaliation against Mayor Jerry Smith and City Attorney Dean Frieders, both of whom denied her claims.
Bill Nicklas was named city manager in December, and began his new role Jan. 2, upon which he became involved in the settlement agreement discussions, he said Thurday.
“In the last week we’ve actually been working on drafts of the settlement agreement,” Nicklas. “We feel we have made very fair representations.”
Nicklas said it was the city’s intent to have a settlement draft included in the agenda packet and out for public viewing, but negotiations in the past week have delayed the matter.
He said the city has a “modest” litigation budget to begin with, and decided to offer a settlement after taking budget factors into consideration.