Merrill, Hillsborough County Commission come to contract terms
A divided Hillsborough County Commission approved terms of a two-year contract with Administrator Mike Merrill Wednesday.
While commissioners still must approve the actual contract language, the board did bless terms that included a far less lucrative severance package than Merrill's predecessor, Pat Bean. The contract sets his salary at $195,000, and grants him severance of six months pay, but not benefits, should he be terminated for reasons that don't involve wrongdoing.
Bean had a severance package equal to a year's worth of pay and benefits, or about $488,000.
Additionally, Merrill would receive $22,000 of deferred compensation into a retirement account annually and a car allowance equal to what other county managers get -- $236 a month. He also must reestablish residency in Hillsborough County by the end of the year after he moved to Clearwater last year to attend to a personal family matter.
The vote was 4-3, with commissioners Mark Sharpe, Ken Hagan and Les Miller objecting, though each for different reasons. Sharpe argued for a slightly lower salary and three-months severance pay. Hagan supported a proposal Merrill initially floated, which would have given him the ability to return to another management position if terminated before the age of 62. Miller said he thought Merrill's deferred compensation was too generous and that he was given too long to move back to Hillsborough County.