Thursday, October 21, 2010

Did Jerry Berry Write His Own Contract?

Did Mr. Berry
Write His Own

It has been just over one year since I started the online petition to try and get someone to find out exactly why Mr. Berry was able to retire early with a half million dollar handshake.

I have been all around the mulberry bush with the Ombudsman's office and have corresponded with our Mayor and it is still not clear why he walked away with such a sweet deal.

The gag order that forbids councilors from talking about the details leading to their decision still has a certain odor to it as does several other factors.

A Thumbnail Sketch of Events

Before Mr. Berry departed there had been a third party study done of how city hall was staffed and how they did their business. That study was never made public, and begs the question .. why?

The Mayor is quoted in the paper as saying that it was all Mr. Berry's idea, yet in future explanations he claims it was by 'mutual agreement'. So which was it? If Mr. Berry just decided he wanted to retire two years early then why would he be entitled to 2 years full pay plus benefits, plus legal fees and now it appears future raises?

From what I have been able to divine from comments from here and there, it appears that there was an ironclad contract in place which basically entitled Mr. Berry to 24 months pay whether he was being fired or quitting voluntarily. Sweet deal, if it is true. Council seemed so certain they had to make this deal, that being taken to court was ruled as not an option, so basically they just rolled over and gave Mr. Berry whatever he asked for.

A suspicious person might wonder what kind of bargaining chip Mr. Berry had tucked away, to make such a one sided deal something council figured they could not avoid.

Who Wrote The Original Contract?

The question I have been mulling over lately regards this whole affair, is just who exactly put together such a one sided contract in the first place? Since Mr. Berry was the city manager at the time, it would seem likely that he had a hand in the drafting of such a one sided deal.

I am sure that all of the i's were dotted and the t's were crossed, but I can't help but wonder if there is not a serious conflict of interest if someone can basically write their own employment contract which entitles them to such a sweet deal. A deal I might add, that would NEVER fly for the average person. If you doubt that, try telling your boss you want one months full pay for every year of employment, and you want to quit early!

It has been over a year, 800 signatures on the petition, Ombudsman's office participation and much discussion with parties involved, and this whole deal still smells.

I for one intend to remember who voted for this deal come next election.


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