Saluda signs contract with six-month severance package for manager

Published 11:22 pm Sunday, October 15, 2017

SALUDA-The City of Saluda approved a contract with city manager Jonathan Cannon last week that includes Cannon giving 30 days notice if he chooses to resign and a six-month severance package if the city terminates him without cause.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday, Oct. 9 and approved the contract following a closed session meeting. The vote to approve the contract was 3-1, with commissioner Leon Morgan voting against.

“In the event Employee is terminated by the Employer before expiration of the aforesaid term of employment and during such time that Employee is willing and able to perform his duties under this agreement, then in that even Employer agrees to pay Employee up to six months’ aggregate salary, benefits, and deferred compensation, payable in monthly installments for a period of up to six months in accordance with Section 4, paragraph B below,” states the contract. “Employee shall also be compensated for all earned vacation, holidays, compensatory time, and other accrued benefits to date payable in a single lump sum payment, payable within two weeks of termination.”

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Travel and car allowance or any other payments or benefits will not be payable to Cannon as part of his severance pay if he is terminated.

In the event after termination without cause, the contract states if Cannon accepts another job at a lower salary than his salary with Saluda, Saluda will pay Cannon the difference between his Saluda salary and his new salary for the remaining portion of the six-month severance period.

“In the event the employee accepts and commences employment with some other employer at a lower base salary, then, and in that event, the employer shall pay to the employee the difference between his existing base salary with the City of Saluda and the base salary of his new employment for the remaining portion of the six months severance period,” states the contract. “No other benefits shall be payable to the employee once the employee accepts and commences employment with any other employer.”

If Cannon is terminated for cause, indictment or conviction, the city will not pay him any severance.

“In the event the Employee is terminated for cause, indictment or for conviction of any illegal act involving personal gain to him, any felony, or any misdemeanor, which involves moral turpitude, then, and in that event, employer shall have no obligation to pay the aggregate severance sum designated in the above paragraphs,” the contract states.

Cannon must give the city 30 days notice if he chooses to resign, unless the parties agree otherwise, according to the contract.

Cannon is paid $69,296 per year, so his severance package if he is terminated without cause would be $34,638 as well as accrued vacation and compensatory time.

In the contract, the city also agrees to give Cannon either compensatory time or be paid overtime for any work over 50 hours per week. Cannon is also provided with a vehicle by the city or reimbursement for use of a personal vehicle.

Saluda Mayor Fred Baisden said last week the city has been talking about the contract for about three months. He said the city discussed the contract last month in depth and asked the attorney to make some changes, which she brought back to the October meeting.

Cannon has been working for Saluda since April 2014, first as the city’s part-time zoning administrator. Following the resignation of former city administrator Erny Williams in April 2015, the city hired Cannon as the city’s administrator and zoning administrator.

The city decided in November 2015 to change its form of government to a manager form instead of an administrator form, and hired Cannon as its first city manager.

This is the first contract with a manager for Saluda.

Polk County has contracts with its managers, including current manager Marche Pittman.

The Town of Columbus also has a contract with its manager Timothy Barth.

The Town of Tryon has an employment agreement with manager Zach Ollis. All contracts in the county include a severance package for terminations without cause.