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Council Can't Agree On Severance
December 10, 1997



Wednesday, December 10, 1997
Section: news
Page: A03
Scott Andrews 

RICHMOND A City Council committee has recommended giving City Manager Floyd Johnson at least $89,775 in severance compensation following the council's decision last month to oust him, according to a confidential memorandum obtained by the Times. 

But the full council could not agree Tuesday on the package, which would include a guarantee from its top executive that he would not sue the city over its decision not to renew his $117,300 per year contract. 

The disagreement leaves open the possibility that Johnson will leave city service with none of the $138,650 in extra compensation he reportedly has requested. It also might leave the city open to litigation. 

The nine-member city council voted Nov. 19 and 21 not to renew Johnson's contract Jan. 9. Four council members and dozens of residents rallied in vociferous opposition to the decision. The opposition has solidified into a recall drive against four of the council members who voted against him. 

Councilman Tom Butt, a member of the committee that proposed the severance package, blasted the council's inaction Tuesday. "We had a very generous package to offer him. I think Floyd's so-called friends are his own worst enemies," said Butt, referring to opposition to the severance plan from Johnson's supporters on the council. 

Other council members criticized the proposal, made by a transition committee composed of butt and Councilmen Alex Evans and Richard Griffin. 

"That bonus represents close to $100,000. I don't agree with that. I don't see how you can give away the taxpayers' money in that fashion," said Councilman Nathaniel Bates. 

One severance opponent Councilman John Marquez said the compensation is too low. 

Johnson had no comment. 

Johnson's contract includes no severance pay benefits unless he is forced out before his contract ends Jan. 9. 

It requires Johnson and his wife, Jewell, to repay $80,000 they received from the city to help buy their home in the Carriage Hills neighborhood. 

The transition committee proposed: 

*Johnson leave his job almost immediately. 

*The city government forgive its housing assistance. 

*Johnson receive one month's pay of $9,775 and up to $7,500 in deferred compensation. 

*Johnson receive a letter of recommendation from Mayor Rosemary Corbin. 

*Johnson and the city government agree not to file any claims against each other.