ONEONTA CITY MANAGER MARTIN MURPHY RESIGNS

City Manager Gets $60,000,

Doubling His Severance, Plus

In Exchange, Martin Murphy Agrees Not To Sue City Hall

Acting Mayor Maureen Hennessey, seated next to City Attorney David Merzig, agreed to sign a severance agreement for former city manager Martin Murphy . (Ian Austin/ allotsego.com)
Acting Mayor Maureen Hennessey, seated next to City Attorney David Merzig, this morning agreed to sign a severance agreement for former city manager Martin Murphy . (Ian Austin/ allotsego.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • for allotsego.com

City Manager Murphy wasn't at this morning's meeting.
City Manager Murphy wasn’t at this morning’s meeting.

ONEONTA – In a special meeting at 9 a.m. today, City Manager Martin Murphy and the Common Council reached a settlement agreement, allowing Murphy to voluntarily resign with six months severance pay.

Murphy, who had served as city manager for 10 months following the departure of former city manager Mike Long, was suspended by a vote of 5-2, with one abstention, on Friday, July 17.  He was not present at this morning’s meeting.

“It’s a sad day in the city,” said Council Member Dave Rissberger, Third Ward.  “If we terminate one employee without due process, what’s to say we won’t do it to another?”

Common Council originally offered Murphy three months’ pay – $27,000 – for his resignation.  Though his resignation was due Tuesday, he did not meet the deadline, and later returned with a counter-offer asking for six months pay of $54,000.  The settlement also includes a lump-sum payment of all sick, vacation, personal and holiday leave accrued, in the amount of $5,900.

The city also agreed to provide a neutral employment reference, and both agreed not to make “disparaging statements” concerning the other party.  Murphy and the city both also agreed to waive their right to a lawsuit, and Murphy waived his right to a public hearing.

Though the public was invited to comment at the meeting, no one spoke, and after a 10-minute executive session, the motion for Hennessy to sign and authorize the separation agreement was brought to the table by Council Member Mike Lynch, Fourth Ward, and seconded by Chip Holmes, Eighth Ward.

The vote was unanimous, with Russ Southard, Sixth Ward and Bob Brzozowski, Seventh Ward, absent.  Both have been vacationing out of town.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve had an outpouring of support from the community,” said Murphy in an interview conducted after the meeting.  “We have met and befriended a number of wonderful people since we moved here.  It’s been a difficult week, but we’re doing the best we can.”