North Las Vegas City Manager Gregory Rose will receive a big parting gift just in time for the holidays: $337,040 in severance pay.
The City Council on Wednesday voted 4-1 to accept Rose’s resignation effective Dec. 22 “in exchange for a cash payment of severance pay … and release of any and all claims against” the city.
Mayor Shari Buck opposed the agreement.
“I cannot support spending this kind of money in this economy for what I don’t view as any good reasons,” Buck said. “I’m not willing to do this on the backs of our taxpayers.”
Rose’s departure comes at a time when the city has been forced to eliminate positions, postpone projects and ask workers to defer cost-of-living raises.
Other council members blamed those who had voted to amend Rose’s contract to his benefit in the past for the price tag attached to his departure.
“There’s two members of this council who did not allow that contract to be amended,” said Councilman Robert Eliason. “The record is very clear with how he got where he got with his contract.”
Eliason and Councilman William Robinson have in the past voted against contract extensions for Rose, most recently in June. That extension, which included requirements for severance pay, was approved 3-2 in a split vote. Then-Mayor Mike Montandon and then-council members Buck and Stephanie Smith voted for the extension. Montandon and Smith have since left office.
Councilwoman Anita Wood pointed out on Wednesday that she and Councilman Richard Cherchio were not on the council when the extension was approved.
“We know what happened as far as the umbrella contract he received,” Robinson said. “But it’s time to move on.”
Rose did not attend the meeting and could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
He and city officials have remained mum on what led to his departure.
Buck has supported Rose, saying he was a good city manager.
Cherchio has said the city simply wants to move in a new direction.
Earlier Wednesday, Cherchio said “legal reasons” are behind the silence about Rose. He wouldn’t be more specific. But there is a clause in the city’s “severance and release agreement” with Rose that states that “neither party will engage in conduct or statements that defame, disparage or cause harm or embarrassment to either party.”
Rose has served as city manager since late 2003.
His contract was to run through September 2013. It specified that if the city chose to terminate him before then, it would pay him one year’s salary plus “accrued benefits” including vacation and sick time. His salary was $202,060.
The city also must pay the cost of health, dental and vision insurance premiums for Rose and his dependents for one year.
Rose has been on leave since Nov. 18.
Assistant City Manager Maryann Ustick was appointed acting city manager.
Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis@review journal.com or 702-383-0285.