Lawmaker pushes to limit excessive payouts to departing employees

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A Missouri lawmaker, Rep. Sally Faith, introduced legislation this week in the legislature that would prevent cities from making massive payouts to employees when they quit or are fired.

The bill would limit the severance monies paid to such employees to six months of salary, according to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The bill was introduced by Faith just weeks before she faces St. Charles Mayor Patti York in a mayoral primary, and highlights a recent deal York made with the city’s departing finance director, Karen McDermott.

McDermott, an 18 year employee of St. Charles, left her job in October for reasons never made public. As the city’s finance director, McDermott earned a salary of $116, 019. The severance package she negotiated when she left, $235,823, was more than twice her annual salary. The city also agreed to pay her health insurance premiums through the end of 2011, if McDermott wasn’t able to secure her own insurance.

At the time of McDermott’s departure, York said that she quit voluntarily, and there was no dispute between her and the city. Even so, the city agreed to pay a law firm $19,732 to handle the negotiations on McDermott’s exit.

York said that she didn’t have a problem with the legislation proposed by Faith, but asked why the state would force the limitation on city employees, when there is no such limitation on state employees.

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