Rumors circling City Hall for weeks became reality at the April 23 City Council meeting, as Mayor Joe Sack announced that he was asking for the Council’s authorization to enter into an Employee Separation Agreement with City Manager Scott Pickup.
By Tom McDermott
Rumors circling City Hall for weeks became reality at the April 23 City Council meeting, as Mayor Joe Sack announced that he was asking for the Council’s authorization to enter into an Employee Separation Agreement with City Manager Scott Pickup. Sack said that the Agreement would include a release and waiver of all claims, and, “pursuant to that agreement, Mr. Pickup had signed a letter of resignation effective April 23 at 11:59 p.m.
As per the Agreement, after the Council’s approval of his resignation, Pickup will continue to be employed by the City, “in order to assist with a transition to a City Manager.”
The Release and Waiver clause referred to by Sack, states that Pickup releases “Employer and its current or former officers, City Council members, employees and/or agents and representatives from any and all claims whether presently known or unknown, which he has or may have against Employer at any time prior to the date of the execution of this Agreement.”
Sack said that the resignation and separation agreement would avoid a process that might have been longer and potentially a more painful experience for the City. “Now is the appropriate time for Mr. Pickup and the City to part ways,” commented the Mayor.
Pickup will remain employed as an assistant to the City Manager until July 10, or until the New York State Employee Retirement System confirms him as a 20-year employee, but no later than July 24.
At the same time, Sack announced the City’s intention to enter into an Employee Agreement with former City Manager Frank Culross. He became City Manager effective April 24 for an undetermined period.
The City will continue to pay Pickup according to his current $177, 500 salary, and will pay him a one-time severance of $59,375. Mr. Culross will be paid the same salary he received in 2009, $198,000 annually, but since he is already a retiree in the NYS system, the City will not have to contribute to his retirement fund or health benefits.
Both resolutions passed unanimously. There was little public discussion of these agreements among Council members during the meeting and little comment from residents in attendance. That stood in marked contrast to months of rancor over the City Manager’s performance, especially his management of Rye Golf Club’s finances and operations.
While Pickup was resigning and the City prepared to move on, a White Plains grand jury was hearing testimony regarding charges that RGC’s former general manager Scott Yandrasevich defrauded the club of $271,000.
According to the City’s $300,000 outside investigation of those allegations, the thefts took place over several years.
As a Councilman, Sack was Pickup’s loudest and most consistent critic regarding the RGC financial fiasco and other matters. He questioned the City Manager’s truthfulness on several occasions. In that role, he repeatedly clashed with former mayor Doug French and others about Pickup’s performance.
Before and after last November’s election, Sack said that the City Manager situation was one of the items that should be looked at very carefully. With the Separation Agreement, Sack can find a new City Manager more to his and the Council’s liking, and Pickup apparently has a way to qualify for a state pension.