Council Contract with Smith Addresses Political Office

After choosing Kevin Smith of Litchfield, a former political candidate, for the town manager job, the Town Council has included a paragraph pertaining to running for office in its employment contract with him.
Smith was hired by the Town Council at its Aug. 5 meeting, as previously reported in the Londonderry Times. Smith, 36, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor in 2012.
In an interview with the Londonderry Times last week, Smith said he had no plans to run for office in the forseeable future.

His employment contract with the town, obtained after the Londonderry Times made a Freedom of Information request, states: “The parties to this Agreement recognize the Town’s concern about Smith resigning the position of Town Manager to run for political office. In the event that Smith announces that he is running for political office while employed as Town Manager, the Town shall be entitled to terminate the Agreement immediately and Smith shall not be entitled to payment of any severance, compensation or benefits.

In the event he announces that he is running for political office while employed as Town Manager or within 120 days of his last day of employment as Town Manager following his resignation, Smith shall pay to the Town a lump sum cash payment equal to two months’ aggregate salary, representing liquidated damages, as any calculation of damages would be difficult to ascertain.”

The contract also contains a more standard termination clause that allows the Town to terminate the agreement “with or without cause,” as outlined in the Town Charter. In the event of termination by the town, Smith would be entitled to a lump sum payment equal to two months’ aggregate salary, plus unused vacation and sick days. The town also agrees to continue all employee benefits for three months, beginning with the next full month after the termination date.

If Smith were terminated for malfeasance or after a determination of probable cause for a criminal act, he would not be entitled to severance or other compensation. The contract defines “malfeasance” as “an intentional act or omission related to and in connection with the discharge of Smith’s official responsibilities.”

Were Smith to resign, at least 60 days’ notice is required. If he resigns, he would not be entitled to severance, compensation or benefits. If he resigned with less than 60 days’ notice, Smith would be required to pay the Town a lump sum cash payment equal to two months’ aggregate salary, representing liquidated damages.

The three-year contract includes a six-month probationary review on or before Feb. 15, 2014. At that time, the Council has the option of terminating the contract effective March 1, and paying Smith a lump sum of $4,500. Smith’s annual salary is $105,000.

Smith would be eligible for annual merit pay increases as determined by the Council, but no annual increase could exceed the range granted to other non-union Town employees.

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