Joint Boards Owe Unified Manager $85,000 Severance
by Irene Wrenner
December 29, 2021,
updated January 17 and February 22, 2022
The Town Selectboard and Village Trustees failed to notify Unified Manager Evan Teich in a timely manner as to whether or not his contract would be renewed. Missing that deadline in August 2021 triggered a penalty clause in the contract.
Consequently, the municipalities that share Teich’s time now owe him approximately $85,000 according to staff response to a public records request. We had originally reported a sum of $83,000.
Neither board has publicly discussed this oversight nor how much each municipality will contribute toward that total, in addition to unknown associated legal fees.
After exiting executive session on December 20th, the Selectboard voted unanimously “...to execute a severance agreement [with the Unified Manager] with the cost to be evenly split between the Town and Village.”
At their January 11th meeting, the Trustees unanimously voted to "approve the Separation agreement between the Town of Essex, Village of Essex Junction, and Evan Teich," according to the minutes.
Among the Unified Manager’s duties is setting the agenda for each meeting. Traditionally, the Unified Manager provided ample notice to the boards before his contract renewal deadline.
This past year, no agenda contained a such a reminder to the Selectboard or Trustees prior to the penalty phase.
Had the boards been alerted to this deadline, they might have acted in a timely fashion.
That deadline was altered last February at Teich's request. The period of advanced notice was lengthened in his contract from 120 to 180 days with the approval of just one of the current Selectboard members.
Teich’s employment with the Town and Village ends on February 26th, 2022.