The number was disclosed in response to a question posed by Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh, who along with Councilman Tom Riche opposed both the preliminary vote on Gabbert’s removal last month as well as the final resolution to terminate him from the village’s top administrative post.
According to Heather Mailainder, the acting village manager, Gabbert will receive three months in compensation as part of his severance, amounting to $46,250, in addition to $36,288 in accrued vacation days.
Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli, who along with Mayor Paul Aronsohn and Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck voted to remove Gabbert from office, said that considering the accrued vacation days part of the “cost” of terminating the manager was “misleading.”
“That is an accrual that we
would have had to pay someday,” he remarked, adding that the vacation days would have represented a greater dollar amount in future years.
The severance, Aronsohn noted, represented the "bare minimum" entitled to the outgoing manager by law.
"By law, the village had to give Ken Gabbert three months severance pay," he said Thursday. "But that number would have been smaller had the previous council not given him a 12 percent, $20,000 a year raise."
The raise, approved in 2011, had been a point of contention for Aronsohn, who, then a councilman, voted against the extra compensation.
In her questioning of the costs,
Walsh noted that the $82,538 figure “doesn’t include any of the additional
costs the village will incur in support staff.” During Mailander’s leadership
of the manager’s office, employees are receiving stipends for their added responsibilities in operating the clerk's office.
Mailander, who continues as clerk during the transition, is provided a $1,800 bimonthly stipend for the dual role. The acting manager did not immediately respond to a request for information on other personnel costs Thursday.
Gabbert, who served in the village’s top administrative post for nearly four years, was suspended from the position as of Aug. 31 pending Wednesday night’s vote to terminate him permanently. The outgoing manager declined the public hearing on his removal afforded to him by village ordinance.
In a letter to the village dated Aug. 27, however, his attorney, Robert Regan of Westwood, specified that forgoing the hearing did not prohibit Gabbert from seeking other legal recourse against the village over his removal, which he termed "political and devoid of faith."
Riche reiterated support for Gabbert before casting a dissenting vote Wednesday night, remarking that the administrator’s management “will benefit the village in years to come.”
The village formally began the search for a new manager Wednesday, posting a request for applications on the municipal website. The posted job description specifies a preference for candidates with masters degrees in business or public administration, as well as five years managerial experience in an organization similar in size to Ridgewood, which has 220 full-time and 67 part-time employees. The posted deadline for submission of applications is Oct. 19.