City pays former City Manager $300,000 to separate

The Sammamish City Council approved a $300,000 payment to

Lyman Howard

former city manager Lyman Howard, to separate from the city, according to a Separation and Release Agreement obtained through a public records request.

Howard’s employment with the city terminated as of August 1, 2018.

The payment includes:

  • Cash payment of about $180,000.
  • $37,000 contribution to to Howard’s 457 plan.
  • 25% of unused sick leave.
  • 380 hours of accrued vacation.
  • 6.2%, 7.2% deductions to retirement accounts.
  • 6.2% deduction representing a 401a matching contribution.

The agreement requires that one member of City Council shall write a “mutually acceptable” letter of commendation describing Howard’s service and activity for the city.

The city and Howard released each other from legal claims.

According to his 2016 Contract for Employment, Howard would have been entitled to a maximum severance equals to six months worth of salary and benefits (estimated at no more than $150,000), if the city terminated the agreement without cause. Had the city found cause, there would have been no severance due.

Council members Tom Hornish and Ramiro Valderrama voted against the agreement on grounds of fiscal concerns. Hornish said publicly he thought the agreement was “too rich.”

11 thoughts on “City pays former City Manager $300,000 to separate

  1. I’m still unclear what led to this “separation”? Was this to do with the traffic consultancy—did Mr. Howard take the fall for this expensive debacle? Or were there other issues at play? Just curious—it seems like this all happened very quickly?!

    • Ditto!! What did he contribute to Sammamish and its citizens in which to receive from our taxes such a large payment for his “separation”. I do hope the City of Sammamish’s upcoming decisions will reflect his abscence and the price paid for his leaving.

    • Good question! Mr Stuart was clearly upset by what took place in the exec session. I wonder what caused this rush, could Mr Howard have left at the end of his contract? The lack of planning was stunning. To replace a tenured staff member with someone, albeit temporarily, that lacks experience is shows how little forethought was done before pulling the trigger.

      • for accuracy, the contract had no set term, there was no “end of contract”. and since all these discussions were held in executive sessions, we don’t know how long was this deliberated. It would be unfair to assume “rush decision”.

      • The employment contract stipulates 2.1 vacation days per month of employment and 1 sick day per month of employment. 28 months passed since that contracts signed. He’s entitles to accrued vacation and 25% of sick leave. Assuming he’s never taken vacation (which is not the case), that would have been about 60 days vacation and 6 sick days. that’s comes to $45,000 at best (assuming no vacation or sick time ever taken). that still leaves $100,000 with no explanation thus far. (granted some of these are assumptions given that the public was not given access to the details)

      • To Mr. Mullor, since for some reason I can’t directly reply to your note:

        Howard was employed by the city for years, since its inception I believe, and accumulated sick time during that tenure, which he is entitled to cash out even if he’s terminated for cause, per his original contract. It’s not just his tenure as city manager. He had far more than 6 sick days accumulated, for instance.

        I agree with other commenters, citizens are due an explanation regarding his release. If they were just unhappy with his leadership, why not say so?

      • The separation agreement stipulated 380 hours of vacation time. It really makes no difference when those were accumulated.

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