This morning's Standard-Examiner is running a story this morning which is bound to give fiscally frugal Ogden City taxpayers heartburn, as Scott Schwebke reports that one of the final acts of the Boss Godfrey administration was the awarding of a $77,300 severance package to Chief Greiner, who was "fired from his job last month because of a federal Hatch Act violation." Here's the lede:
OGDEN -- Former Police Chief Jon Greiner, who was fired from his job last month because of a federal Hatch Act violation, will receive a severance package from the city with a gross value of $77,300.Check out the full story here:
The package stems from a settlement agreement Greiner and former Mayor Matthew Godfrey signed Dec. 30, according to records obtained by the Standard-Examiner.
The payout equals six months of Greiner's salary and accrued health, dental, vacation, vehicle and retirement benefits.
In exchange for the severance package, Greiner has released the city from any future legal claims.
The severance package given to Greiner is standard for all city department directors, Mayor Mike Caldwell said.
WCF readers was earlier wondering why Greiner's involuntary termination might entitle him to a severance pay package, inasmuch as he was "fired for cause," i.e., "because of a federal Hatch Act violation."
Being the curious type, and intrigued by our gentle reader's query, we "googled" the underlying rules, of course.
Turning to the Ogden City Code, we find that the provisions governing Ogden City employee "Classification and Pay Plans" are governed by Ogden City Code Section 2-6-9.
The rules for the denial of of severance pay benefits to "involuntarily terminated" Ogden City employee are spelled out in Subsection F.
It does seem to us that there is one provision within that subsection which might operate to prohibit the payment of a severance package to Chief Greiner, although it's a mite thin, in our view:
3. Prohibition: Severance pay shall not be paid to an otherwise eligible employee who:The terms nonfeasance, misfeasance or malfeasance are technical "words of art"of course. Click the links below for some commonly-used general definitions:
a. Has been terminated or requested to resign under bona fide charges of nonfeasance, misfeasance or malfeasance in office
Greiner Hatch Act problem, can an valid argument be made that Greiner's severence package is prohibited by the Ogden City Code, due to acts of nonfeasance, misfeasance or malfeasance on Greiner's part? In ignoring the demands of the federal Office of Special Council in 2006 to either drop out of his State Senate race, or alternatively to resign his office as Ogden's Chief of Police, did Greiner wilfully or negligently breach a duty owed to his employer, Ogden City, to refrain from a course of action which would jeopardise Ogden City's federal grant funding? Did Greiner's good-faith exercise of what we've called on WCF the Richard Perkins defense (Ogden's Hatch Act Compliance Program) operate as an excuse for his failure to heed the OSC's warnings? Did Ogden City's failure to fire Greiner early on, and instead to cooperatively join with Greiner in his Hatch Act litigation obviate any argument that Greiner acted in a manner which could deny him a severance package? Is Boss Godfrey's eleventh hour agreement to a severance "payout [which] equals six months of Greiner's salary and accrued health, dental, vacation, vehicle and retirement benefits" anything more than the last minute looting of the Ogden City treasury, or did the concerted acts of both Greiner and Boss Godfrey paint incoming Mayor Mike Caldwell so deeply into a corner that Caldwell has no alternative but to "go along" with what some might characterize as Greiner's Golden Parachute? Is Greiner's severance pay award just another example of Godfrey's fast-collapsing "House of Cards," which we wrote about yesterday?
So many questions... so few answers...
Who'll be the first to toss in their own 2¢?
Nothing better than a little mental exercise to clear out the Monday morning mental cobwebs, right?