Anaheim OKs Severance Pay of $96,021 for City Manager

Times Staff Writer

The Anaheim City Council unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday under which City Manager William O. Talley will resign Sept. 1 and receive a retirement package that includes more than $96,000 in severance pay.

The council voted on July 28, 3 to 2, to oust Talley from his $101,700-a-year job. The new accord was called "mutually beneficial" by city officials.

Talley's one-sentence resignation letter did not mention the circumstances surrounding his departure. He did not appear at Tuesday's City Council meeting. Councilman Wiliam D. Ehrle, whose election June 2 tipped the council majority against Talley, also did not attend because of recent surgery.

Talley, 54, Anaheim's city manager for more than 11 years, had been criticized by several council members for his management style and his handling of several lawsuits brought against the city. He was included in a suit brought by the California Angels against the city over who controls development of the parking lot at Anaheim Stadium.

Under terms of the agreement, Talley will receive 11 months of severance pay, or $96,021. In addition, he will receive an increase in his base pay to $104,751, a 3% adjustment also given to other management employees under the city's pay-for-performance system, city officials said. The increase is retroactive to April 3.

Further, Talley's final two paychecks will include a pay increase totaling $9,360. The city has also agreed to compensate Talley at the rate of $90 per hour for his participation in any current litigation involving the city, and he will receive $10,000 for job placement assistance, although the agreement places no restriction on how the money can be used.

The city agreed to defend Talley against any legal claim brought against him in his capacity as city manager and to pay his legal fees in any dispute with the state Public Employees Retirement System that may arise over his salary or benefits.

The precise amount of Talley's retirement pay is still to be worked out, City Atty. Jack L. White said.

In what White described as a "significant compromise on Talley's behalf," only a portion of the $96,021 in severance pay will be included as part of Talley's final salary. Talley will receive $29,371 in severance pay when he leaves office, with the balance of $66,650 to be paid Jan. 4, 1988.

White said Talley's previous contract with the city "could have been interpreted to mean that the entire amount must be included as final salary." The reduced final salary will mean a reduction in the retirement checks Talley receives.

"It is a significant potential savings for the city," White said. "This is a mutually beneficial agreement for Mr. Talley and the city."

Reached Tuesday night at his home, Talley would not comment on specifics of the agreement but expressed "disappointment with positions the city took in negotiations."

"But the agreement speaks for itself," Talley said. "The fact that I signed it indicates that, if not satisfactory, it is at least acceptable."

Talley also continued to express surprise at the council's action in dismissing him: "I didn't expect the city to take the position that it did with regard to my continuation."

'Fine Professional Reputation'

Talley would not say whether he is seeking employment elsewhere but said that he has a "fine professional reputation" that has not been tarnished by this incident.

Councilman Irv Pickler, a Talley supporter, said the settlement was an honorable way to end the job of a man with more than 30 years of city government experience.

"He was a good city manager for this city, and he brought a lot of plusses and accomplishments," Pickler said. "This kind of arrangement is what I would have liked to have seen happen from the beginning."

Mayor Ben Bay, who voted to fire Talley, said he was "pleased to see something negotiated and settled, with both sides in agreement," adding that the accord is in the "best interests" of Talley and the city.

But Mayor Pro Tem Miriam Kaywood, a Talley supporter, remained bitter about his departure.

"We will hear reverberations from this action for years to come," Kaywood said. "He was a complete professional and will be sorely missed."

There has been no decision on who will replace Talley on an interim basis or whether the council will search nationally for a new city manager.

Sheri Erlewine, Anaheim public information officer, said Deputy City Manager Bob Simpson has been assigned by Talley to handle day-to-day administrative duties.

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