A proposed contract alteration that would increase severance allowance for Ellisville City Manager Kevin Bookout ended in a tie vote from city council at the Dec. 5 council meeting.
The revision would have added an additional one month's worth of salary pay for each year served if Bookout were to be removed without cause from the city manager position, packaged with the current six months salary and health premium already in his contract. At present, after six years of service, Bookout would earn an additional six months of pay, with the cap at 12 months.
After the bill's first reading, the tie vote prevented the measure from moving forward.
Council Member Matt Pirrello said Bookout's original contract from December 2006 had nine months of severance pay and was reduced to six.
"Ultimately, this is an expense we hope the city will never have," Pirrello said. "He only receives severance if he's fired for no reason at all."
Council Member Michelle Murray said Bookout "has provided great leadership" and that she saw the revision as "commensurate" to his service.
"We've had personnel issues in the past," Murray said. "[Bookout] shows the impact of a good staff versus one with issues."
In the 3-3 tie, Pirrello, Murray and Troy Pieper voted for the ordinance. With Roze Acup's absence, Dawn Anglin, Linda Reel and Mayor Adam Paul voted against it.
Paul walked through a presentation of concerns he had with the increase, calling it an "ordinance of trepidation." Paul said he did not view the contract comparable to similar area cities.
"My intent is not to let everybody go here," Paul said. "At the end of the day, I have nothing against this council other than the power-playing, trepidations and fear of what will happen with the next council."
Pirrello reiterated that the council has no control over any contract employees with the exception of Bookout and City Clerk Catherine Demeter.