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Avondale City Commission approves new contract for city manager

Avondale Estates

Avondale City Commission approves new contract for city manager

Photo obtained via the city of Avondale Estates website.

The Avondale Estates City Commission on Aug. 16 unanimously voted to hire Patrick Bryant as its next city manager.

Bryant’s official start date is Sept. 17.

Bryant, the former City Manager of Talladega, Ala., was the sole finalist to replace former city manager Clai Brown. Bryant was fired from his job in Talladega in June without cause, meaning the firing stemmed from a disagreement with his former employer and was not performance related. He received a severance, according to The Daily Home newspaper.

Bryant worked in Santa Clarita, Cali. for seven years as an Administrative Analyst for the City Manager’s Office and Transit Services Department before moving to Talladega. He’s a native of Birmingham, Ala. and got his start in government with an internship in Mountain Brook, Ala. He holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in communication and political science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The Avondale Estates City Commission voted to part ways with City Manager Brown earlier this year after he announced in December his intention to resign effective Feb. 16 of this year. He rescinded that resignation a month later after the city commission refused to pay him a severance that amounted to more than $300,000 (it was exactly $317,408.17, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution). The severance would’ve been a year’s salary – Brown made about $180,000 per year – plus accrued vacation and sick leave.

A severance for resigning is unheard of in the public sector. The City Commission and Brown eventually came to an agreement that paid Brown a $45,000 severance payment and approximately $32,000 in accrued leave. In exchange, Brown agreed not to sue the city.

The new city manager’s contract appears to have drawn on lessons the city learned from Brown’s departure.

Bryant’s annual salary will be $145,000.  The city will provide him with a phone to use for city business. He has the same benefits as other city employees, according to his contract.

If the agreement is terminated without cause after 180 days of the effective date of the agreement, Bryant can receive six months severance. If the city terminates him without cause within those 180 days, he will not be given a severance. If Bryant leaves without cause prior to Dec. 31, 2020, he will owe the city $10,000 to cover the cost of hiring his replacement.

Both the city and Bryant agree not to sue each other if he is terminated without cause.

Bryant will also receive a reimbursement of up to $4,000 for relocation expenses.

To read the full contract, click here.