Despite spending just two months on the job in Livingston before making the decision to leave, the former city manager will be paid more than $55,000 in severance, his separation agreement shows.
The agreement signed this month by Eddie Duque and Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza states that the city will give the former city manager $52,466 on Jan. 5 to “assist him in his career transition.”
Another $2,636 – the value of two months’ worth of medical coverage – will also be paid out to Duque, the agreement states. Those payouts come on top of the regular salary he was being paid during his short time with the city.
Duque officially left the job Dec. 18, the agreed upon separation date for his employment after he decided to resign, according to city leaders. He was to make $140,000 a year plus benefits as the city’s top administrator after beginning work Sept. 30.
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$55,102Amount of severance to be paid to city manager on top of salary
The payouts are set to be made in January, under the agreement, assuming Duque also waives his right to demand any further payment or rescind his resignation.
Livingston’s City Council held two closed-door meetings earlier this month related to the city manager’s performance and employment, records show.
The reasons behind the sudden departure remain unclear. Duque has not responded to requests for comment.
Livingston underwent several months of searching before picking Duque, who replaced Jose Ramirez as city manager.
Before Duque began working for the city, Sun-Star inquiries found he had a bankruptcy filing and a domestic-violence conviction in his background. Both had been cleared from his record, he said, but the council admitted to not being aware of either when he was hired.
The agreement signed this month by Eddie Duque and Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza states that the city will give the former city manager $52,466 on Jan. 5 to ‘assist him in his career transition.’
The city continues to crawl back to where it was before the Great Recession and the bursting of the housing bubble, which was particularly tough on Merced County cities.
City coffers are expected to end this fiscal year with the first budget surplus in four years. With general fund revenues of $5.18 million, the city projects a surplus of about $320,000.
Though the surplus is relatively small, city leaders have said it’s a sign of an improving economy in Livingston. The next city manager will inherit that surplus, and the residents’ calls for economic development.