City Council Statement

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Thursday February 07, 2013

City Council Statement

February 5, 2013

The South Burlington City Council has decided on a unanimous basis to end Sandy Miller’s employment as City Manager and terminate his employment contract with the City immediately.  The Council is proceeding under Paragraph 3 of Mr. Miller’s contract that allows the Council to take this action at any time upon payment of a severance of twelve (12) months salary and benefits.

The Council has concluded that the need for an immediate change in the City’s top management position outweighs the cost of the severance package.  Council members have become increasingly concerned about complaints received from members of the community that Mr. Miller pursues City matters with an aggressive and confrontational style.  It suspects, as well, that Mr. Miller has employed a similar style in dealing with City staff.

His direct interactions with Council members have also become strained.  The Council takes seriously its responsibility to oversee City government and manage its affairs.  In discharging this responsibility, it must be able to rely on information it receives from the City Manager and have confidence that its decisions will be faithfully implemented.  Mr. Miller’s strong advocacy for the courses of action he desires to pursue has raised serious questions about his ability to provide complete, objective and accurate information on matters requiring review of alternate approaches suggested by the Council.  Similarly, the Council doubts Mr. Miller’s commitment to carry out Council decisions with which he disagrees.

The City has experienced much turmoil in recent years.  Some of it has led to an improvement in the City’s management of its financial affairs.  In retrospect, however, some of this turmoil may have been avoidable if the City had pursued certain matters in a less confrontational manner.  Looking forward, this Council wants to improve its relationship with the City’s residents, businesses and public and non-profit partners.  It also wants to create an environment in which all City employees are able to work together cooperatively. These will be priorities as the Council begins its search for a new City Manager.

The Council will meet at 4:30 PM on February 6, 2013 to address management of City business during this transition period.