The city council’s April vote to fire City Manager Russell Allen could cost taxpayers up to $327,000, according to newly released records of Allen’s severance package.
Allen agreed to stay on board through this year’s budget season, but he left June 30 with a year remaining on his contract, which the council had signed in 2012. That means Allen is still receiving his monthly paychecks, while the city’s chief financial officer fills in as manager and the council looks for a permanent replacement.
Allen’s termination letter notes that he was fired “without cause,” and council members have been tight-lipped about why they wanted the head of city government gone after 12 years in Raleigh.
Here’s how the estimated cost of the firing breaks down. The numbers do not include health benefits – given his length of service, Allen is eligible for retiree health insurance, according to human resources director Stephen Jones. The severance package, however, doesn’t include the same benefits arrangement he received as an employee.
On July 5, Allen received a check for his 125 unused vacation days, totaling $111,923.08. He was known for working long hours and rarely taking time off.
With James on leave from the finance department, his deputy Robin Rose is serving as interim chief financial officer. She’s getting a temporary 10 percent raise for the extra work, causing her to earn an additional $3,675 this year if James returns in November.
Factoring in these salary costs, the city could pay up to $327,000 more this year than it would have if Allen had remained employed and used his vacation time. That amount could decrease if Allen gets a new job soon, or if the new manager is hired on the lower end of the council’s salary range.