Former Van Alstyne City Manager Frank Baker will receive the equivalent of nine months of pay as a part of a separation agreement with the city following his resignation earlier this week.
The Van Alstyne City Council held a special called meeting Sunday with only one item on the agenda related to the “appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, resignation or dismissal of the city manager.” Following a two-hour executive session, the council unanimously voted to accept Baker’s resignation.
The agreement says the city and Baker “now desire to resolve their relationship, compromise and settle all claims which (Baker) has or may have arising out of his employment and resignation from employment.”
In a one-sentence resignation letter, Baker resigned his position effective Oct. 1. Baker was not in attendance for Sunday’s meeting, but signed the agreement at some point Sunday, with Van Alstyne Mayor Larry Cooper signing it the next day.
Based on documents acquired by the Herald Democrat earlier this year, Baker’s salary as of December 2016 was $52.88 an hour, or $109,990.40 annually. Based on this rate, Baker would receive $82,492 before deductions and taxes in salary through the agreement.
The severance was outlined in Baker’s contract with the city and started at six months of wages. Each year, an additional month of wages was added to the agreement, with a maximum of 12 months. That provision only applied in the event that a supermajority of the full council voted to terminate Baker’s employment “at the pleasure of the Council, without good cause” and not in the event of a resignation.
In the agreement, Baker will receive nine months of pay at his regular pay rate as of Sept. 30. In addition to this, the city will pay Baker for 134 hours of vacation and 712 hours sick leave that has accrued under the city’s personnel policies.
This payment will be made in a lump sum, according to the regular payroll schedule, payroll practices and tax withholdings, the agreement says. The agreement makes no mention of insurance or health care benefits for Baker following the resignation.
In the agreement, Baker waived all claims, complaints, liabilities and damages related to the city. In a separate item, Baker agrees not to sue or bring legal action against the city for any claim which occurred during his time with the city.
The agreement also bars Baker from any future employment with the city, effectively severing any future relationship with Van Alstyne. The agreement also included a nondisclosure and a nondisparage agreement between the two parties.
Before his time as city manager, Baker served within the city’s fire department first as a firefighter and later as its fire chief. In 2012, Baker was named the city manager for Van Alstyne.
Since 2015, Baker had performed two duties for the city as he became the volunteer fire chief in addition to his city manager duties. This allowed the city to save a salary for the fire chief position, Cooper said in an open letter of recommendation, printed on city letterhead and dated Sept. 30. The letter did not name Cooper, but instead is simply from “Mayor, Van Alstyne.”
“Mr. Baker exemplifies traits of a natural leader and his service to the community is commendable,” the letter states. “In our community, he has been the first to volunteer and the last to leave. During his tenure as city manager in our full-service city, he enhanced our street program through the use of sales tax, led the improvement and replacements in the water and wastewater system, and has positioned our city for anticipated growth.”