Scanlon submits termination and severance notice to Basalt
August 20, 2016
Town Manager Mike Scanlon's attorney informed the Basalt government Friday that he has terminated his contract and exercised the severance clause in his contract.
Scanlon wants the full severance amount defined in his contract because he contends his performance was inappropriately discussed in a meeting that included Basalt Town Council members, according to the notification. Scanlon also informed confidants late Friday afternoon that he was moving on and leaving the town government.
Scanlon's contract says that if he is terminated prior to January 2018, he gets 12 months of severance pay plus benefits. His annual salary is $161,869. However, there are a number of exceptions that could be contested.
The move marks the latest chapter in a contentious month between Scanlon and the council. In an Aug. 2 meeting of the Basalt Financial Committee, three council members rebuked Scanlon for allegedly approving payments to The Arts Campus At Willits, also known as TACAW, that weren't authorized.
Councilman Bernie Grauer said Scanlon inappropriately authorized use of revenues from a real estate transfer assessment on sales in Willits to pay for the salary of the managing director of the arts organization. Grauer along with Mayor Jacque Whitsitt and Councilwoman Katie Schwoerer contended the use of the funds needed to be approved by the council. They also criticized Scanlon for not informing them about accounting discrepancies by TACAW.
The council was also concerned about Scanlon's use of a $35,000 loan for down payment assistance on a potential house purchase in Basalt. He received a check from Basalt staff for $35,000 on Aug. 3, but he hadn't signed a promissory note at the time. Scanlon said Thursday it was his understanding that the loan was authorized through town policies without a promissory note. He had a title insurance company return the funds on Aug. 5.
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The council endorsed Scanlon's standing as town manager after the April election, when three seats turned over. Scanlon approached the council after the election to ask if they felt he was the "right fit" at that time. They said he was the right fit. He told The Aspen Times earlier this week that he had questions about whether he remained the right fit after recent developments.
After the council questioned his use of the $35,000 for the down payment assistance, Scanlon hired a Denver attorney that specializes in employment and municipal law. The town government also retained a Denver attorney with the same expertise. Negotiations have been in sessions closed to the public.