Clarification of the Employment Agreement for Lessard, Former Ashland City Manager
In response to some confusion among city residents about former City Manager Joe Lessard’s severance payments, The Chronicle is making public the relevant provisions of his Dec. 17, 2021 employment contract with the city of Ashland.
Section 11. Termination and Severance Pay
For the purpose of this Agreement, termination shall occur when:
A. 1. The City terminates the Employee in accordance with the Ashland City Charter, the Ashland Municipal Code, or a city personnel policy.
A. 4 – If the employee resigns following an offer to accept resignation, conveyed in writing or during a Council Business Meeting or an Executive Session, by the employer that is representative of the majority of the governing body that the Employee resign, then the employee may declare a termination as of the date of the offer.
In the event Employee is dismissed by the city during the term of this Agreement, and Employee is not being dismissed for any reason set forth in Subsection A.1, Subsection C, or Subsection D of this Section 11, the city agrees to offer Employee a severance agreement. Such severance agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld. The amount of severance pay to be offered to Employee in the severance agreement shall be equal to twelve months of the Employee’s monthly base salary at the time of dismissal during the first two years of employment. The amount of severance pay to be offered to Employee in a severance agreement shall be reduced to an amount equal to nine months of the Employee’s monthly base salary at the time of dismissal beginning in year three of his employment and shall be further reduced to an amount equal to six months of the Employee’s monthly base salary at the time of dismissal at year four of his employment with the city.
In addition, the severance agreement offered to Employee will require the city to continue to pay the employer portion of the premiums for medical and dental insurance coverage through the end of the month the Employee’s severance pay is intended to cover or until the last day of the month in which employee obtains employment with alternative insurance whichever occurs earlier.
In the agreement signed at last Friday’s special Council Meeting, Lessard resigned as provided for in section A. 4 after a majority of the City Council offered him this option. On a 6-0 vote, Council approved the agreement providing him with four months severance and three months leave at full salary and benefits.