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  • By Lisa Brody

Markus contract as city manager approved

Birmingham City Commissioners approved the employment agreement with former city manager Tom Markus to be the new city manager, beginning January 1, 2021, at their meeting on Monday, November 23.

A verbal agreement had been approved between the two parties at the last commission meeting on November 9. Commissioners had directed their labor counsel to work with Markus to finalize the agreement.

The employment contract is for 30 months (two-and-a-half years), at $160,000 a year. Attorney Gouri Sashital of Keller Toma had added a clause for severance “with cause,” which Markus had objected to, requesting “with or without cause,” other than a felony or other illegal action, noting the definitions for “with cause” were lengthy and could be arbitrary.

“My agreement with the city over 10 years ago had less reasons for cause than this one,” Markus said. “The list for causes is quite lengthy in the city's proposal. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to preclude cause. By the way, I was here for 22 years and the city didn't have to pay me severance. This is a two-and-a-half year arrangement; there's an investment beyond (moving) – I want every assurance I can be there for that time without being summarily dismissed.”

“I don't want to quibble over this. This is a short-term contract,” commissioner Clinton Baller said.

“I am excited we have engaged such an eminent individual. I just feel this is too long a contract,” commissioner Brad Host said.

Commissioners approved the contract to retain Markus 6-1, with Host dissenting.


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