Wells retired and still got severance

On Sept. 7, the City of Pensacola released the personnel folder of former City Attorney Rusty Wells. Wells completed the Deferred Retirement Option program on Aug. 1, 2009. However, the Pensacola City Council allowed him to continue as City Attorney beyond that date, when they approved his City Attorney contract in July 2008.

His contract had a severance clause. If the City Council voted to terminate his contract, then he was to be paid severance of three months pay.

In Wells’ folder is a signed General Release Agreement, it states “The employment relationship between EMPLOYER and EMPLOYEE is terminated by virtue of EMPLOYEE’s retirement.” The city paid him $38,786.80 for 90 days severance pay.

Inweekly checked the retirements of other employees. Former HR director Sherrer Kuchera retired 1/3/14 after working for the city 23 years, only two less than Wells. She did not get severance pay. Kuchera retired when she completed DROP.

Janet Brown, Assistant to the CFO, retired 6/8/12 without getting a severance check. She had worked for the city for 28 years.

Donna Harris, another assistant to the CFO, retired 1/3/14 without getting a severance check. She had also worked for the city 28 years.

Wells is back under contract with the city and is paid to a special assistant to the city administrator.

Inweekly also received the personnel folder of former City Manager Al Coby. Mayor Hayward made him an assistant city administrator when he took office. The mayor terminated his employment in September 2011. Because he was terminated, Coby qualified for severance – $69,045 for 180 days. His folder did not have a signed General Release Agreement. He had worked for the City for 27 years.