Phenix City Council considers $200,000 severance package for fired city manager

benw@ledger-enquirer.comMay 31, 2014 

Phenix City Municipal Building, 1111 Broad Street.

JOE PAULL — jpaull@ledger-enquirer.com

Two weeks after voting to dismiss Wallace Hunter as city manager, Phenix City Council will consider a resolution on Tuesday to pay Hunter $198,439.25 as part of his severance package.

Council voted 3-2 along racial lines on May 20 to immediately relieve Hunter of his administrative supervision of departments in the city. Councilmembers Chris Blackshear, Gail Head and Jim Cannon supported the action while Mayor Eddie Lowe and Councilman Arthur Day opposed the move.

The resolution to be considered by the five-member panel states that Hunter was under a contract, which would provide a severance of one year's salary and benefits in the event he was released from his duties. If council approves the request, Hunter would be paid the money on June 30.

Although the city has already named Finance Director Steve Smith as interim city manager to fill the vacancy of Wallace's firing, the resolution states that Hunter shall remain an employee of the city with all salary and benefits through June 30.

Salary and benefits paid May 21 through June 30 will be deducted from the severance payout, leaving a balance of $198,439.25 to be paid to Hunter on June 30.

In a contract approved for Hunter by City Council in 2012, the agreement called for a six-month severance package unless he's terminated by council. If dismissed by a majority vote of the council, Hunter's severance is 12-months salary and full benefits.

Officials had earlier said the package could be about $150,000, but the actual total is closer to $200,000.

Hunter had served as city manager since 2008 and worked in a number of positions for the city during 32 years of service, including fire chief.

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