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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian has tabled a proposed agreement with Law Director Paul Goldberg that would rehire him at a reduced salary following his retirement from the position on April 30.

Some on council at a meeting on April 25 wanted to review the details of the agreement before voting on it.

The deal calls for the city to pay Goldberg an annual salary of $49,000 for two years. Council has already approved his retirement at a previous meeting in April, which becomes effective on April 30. After that date, Goldberg would have to stop working for the city for 60 days, then would be re-employed by the city as law director under the new terms of his contract.

Goldberg’s annual salary is currently about $170,000.

Seferian said at a previous meeting that the arrangement would give the city “time to put ourselves in shape to see where council chooses to go with appointing a new law director of if any changes would be made in how they want to proceed with the law director’s position.”

Between the 60 days of Goldberg’s retirement and re-employment with the city, legal questions regarding the city would be referred to Administrator Mike Beazley, who has a law degree. Seferian said an interim law director during that time would be Tom Dugan, the city prosecutor.

“This actually is a net savings to the city of a little more than $100,000 per year,” Seferian said of the agreement to re-hire Goldberg. “Mr. Goldberg, in his retirement, has agreed to these terms, and figures to work for the city, if council wants him to stay, for approximately two years.  During that time, if council wants to figure out what they want to do with the law director’s position, or change it in any way, we have the latitude of having this contract with Mr. Goldberg as an employee of the city, as long as council chooses to have him be here, and as long as he will choose to stay here. We think this is certainly a good deal for the interim of time when we come up with a different law director.”

Councilman Mike Sheehy made a motion to approve the agreement, and Councilman Terry Reeves seconded the motion.  Councilman Sandy Bihn, though, said she wanted to review the details of the agreement before she voted on it.

“I call for a roll call, and also I have some questions,” said Bihn. “First of all, is there’s a job position and a salary position? I believe there has to be a job description, and us knowing exactly what the terms of this are, rather than just $49,000 for whatever period of time. We’ve always had job descriptions. If Mr. Goldberg is to serve as an employee, I think we should have that job description to understand exactly what the duties are, and exactly what’s happening. And I don’t see that.”

Seferian said the job description of law director is detailed in the city charter.

“It is fairly specified in there, so I think it would serve to be the same role as he had. The roles and duties are very clearly stated in the charter,” said Seferian.

“There’s other positions stated in the charter that are articulated, and yet they have job descriptions and what they entail,” said Bihn. “And I believe this should have the same framework for telling us exactly what’s expected. Does this include that he’s now becoming an employee of the city as opposed to an outside contractor? Is there vacation and sick time? Is there health insurance? How exactly is this supposed to work?”

Beazley said Goldberg would receive sick and vacation time, as well as health care benefits, as do other city employees.

“But it’s our intention to end up with an agreement so that he would accrue no settlement of sick or vacation time when he departs. We are not going to do any payout when he leaves,” said Beazley.

“If we’re to have an agreement with him as an employee, then I think we should see the terms of that agreement before we do this,” said Bihn. “There really shouldn’t be any hurry because he won’t be here for two months. I think if there’s a two month hiatus, he won’t start until July 1. I think we ought to see that before we do this.”

Councilman Jerry Peach agreed.

“I think the points Mrs. Bihn raised are very well taken, and are correct,” said Peach.

Seferian agreed to draw up the details of the agreement.

“I withdraw the actual request to appoint him tonight in lieu of us coming back with that agreement,” said Seferian.

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