Suffolk paid nearly $250,000 to former high-level workers
The city has paid nearly $250,000 to three former top administrators who abruptly left their jobs in the last 18 months, city records show.
The latest payment was made Thursday – $101,500 to former Assistant City Manager Cynthia Rohlf.
The payouts have come as the City Council has reshaped top leadership at City Hall, a process that started in July 2006 with the firing of then-City Manager Steve Herbert and the resignation of former Finance Director Christine Ledford six months later.
Copies of checks and payroll records showing the payments were obtained by The Pilot through Freedom of Information Act requests.
In January 2007, the city finalized a $74,136 settlement with Ledford, who resigned in December 2006 after the council hired an outside firm to evaluate city finances. After taxes were withheld, Ledford’s check was for $49,740.
Herbert continued to draw his salary for six months after he was fired. The payments, totaling $65,000, were guaranteed under his contract with the council.
Rohlf, who was making $126,843 a year, was put on paid administrative leave on Nov. 15. Her last day with the city was Nov. 28, city officials confirmed this week. After taxes were withheld, Rohlf’s check issued Jan. 3 was for $65,276.
In total, the city has paid $240,636 to Rohlf, Ledford and Herbert after they stopped working for Suffolk. That’s equivalent to the annual salaries of seven rookie police officers.
City officials and the former employees declined to talk about the payments.
Severance packages for high-level employees are common practice and usually include provisions barring both sides from talking about them and from filing lawsuits related to the separation, said Burt Whitt, a lawyer who heads the employment division for the law firm of Kaufman & Canoles.
Aaron Applegate, (757) 222-5122, firstname.lastname@example.org