Claremore City Council has approved the resignation of City Manager Jim Thomas.
After eight years in Claremore, Thomas submitted his resignation late last week. The resignation, and associated settlement agreement, were up for council approval during tonight's meeting.
After hearing form multiple community members, city council members, Mayor Bill Flanagan, and Thomas himself, the council moved to approve a settlement totaling 173,106.11.
Prior to voting on the settlement, Thomas addressed those gathered in the council chambers and said Claremore has had six full time city managers in the past 20 years and that he has the longest tenure among them.
"Claremore today is a better city than when I walked in in 2012," he said.
He added that he has no regrets in his career and that it has been an honor to work alongside the talented and hardworking men and women working for the city.
"Thank you for the memories," he said.
Mayor Bill Flanagan thanked Thomas for eight years of accomplishment and leadership. Flanagan cited successes in infrastructure, personnel, budget, and quality of life enhancements.
"On behalf of myself and the city council, thank you," said Flanagan.
City council member Justin Michael was quick to say the mayor didn't speak for him.
"I suggest we suspend [Thomas] until we can do a full investigation on any allegations before we consider a settlement," Michael said, after recounting recent executive discussions regarding Thomas' performance.
The city manager contract provides a 12-month severance payment, regardless of the date of resignation. This is the same provision that has been included in previous contracts. Thomas will be paid 12 months of gross salary ($142,041,12) accrued vacation pay (235.25 hours for $16,064.99) and an annual $15,000 payment to the Oklahoma Municipal Retirement Fund for a total cost of $173,106.11. All amounts are gross estimates and do not reflect state or federal taxes or other deductions such as FICA, SUTA, Medicare or other employer or employee contributions.
Council members were told that the amount of the settlement would not have changed had Thomas resigned at another time, and that the amount was set forth in the contract.
During the meeting, multiple city council members questioned who authored the contract and agreed it was something to look into before the next city manager is hired.
Watch for additional stories to learn what members of the community had to say to the council regarding Thomas, and who the council named as the interim city manager.