Council here unanimously approved Monday a settlement agreement to pay Village Manager Laura Curliss $50,500 to end her employment.
In a statement the council said it “has decided to proceed in a different direction” and was grateful for Curliss’ services and “sincerely wishes her well.” The two-sentence statement goes on to say Curliss “has the capability and the talent to be a very successful city manager or law director.
Curliss declined comment Wednesday, referring to the statement. Judith Hempfling, council president, did not immediately return phone messages asking for comment.
Curliss’ contract contained language that allowed the council to fire her for “no just cause.”
According to the settlement agreement, the village will pay Curliss $12,400 for her deferred compensation and health plans and $38,000 in a lump sum. The agreement also contains a clause that requires Curliss and the council, if asked about Curliss’ departure, to “respond consistent with” the two-sentence statement.
Curliss is the third city manager to leave the village since 2006. Eric Swansen served from January 2006 to June 2008 when he resigned to take a city manager position in Washington state. Mark Cundiff served as city manager from November 2008 through February 2012 before leaving to become the city manager of Sidney. Curliss came on as interim city manager when Cundiff left and was appointed city manager June 2012.
Curliss departure comes as the village is getting a cost estimate for the last of three options for its 50-year-old water treatment plant.
“Since 2007, the village has been looking at the water plant and the water source,” Curliss said. In the past two weeks, two of the villages four well pumps — “our two biggest,” Curliss said — failed. For eight days, village residents were asked to conserve water until one of the two pumps came back on line.
Curliss said the village could share services with Springfield at a cost of around $1.5 million for a pipeline or build a new water plant for around $3.8 million. The village is awaiting engineers’ estimates for the third option: rehabilitating the current water plant.